After starting the Pitocin, the Doctor gave it about 6 hours before coming back to check to see how much I’d progressed and unfortunately it wasn’t what we had hoped for. I was up to 2cm dilated when they were hoping for at least 3cm so they could increase the amount of Pitocin being given. Since the medication wasn’t helping me to further dilate they decided that it was time to insert a foley balloon1 to assist with further dilation, and yes that is exactly as it sounds: a balloon inserted into my vagina, which was then inflated and left to do its work. Once the balloon fell out then I’d be around 5cm dilated and that’s when they’d really turn on the medication. Least to say it was a very uncomfortable experience but not as painful or awful as I’d read from other women online, thankfully.
Once the balloon was inserted, it was back to waiting. At that point I was in and out of sleep due to utter exhaustion and poor R didn’t fare much better. While there was a place for him to sleep, it wasn’t entirely comfortable so the whole wait and see took its toll on him too, especially since the balloon took a while. At some point, the contractions started to make sleeping difficult so I asked for something to take the edge off. The doctor gave me Fentanyl because it was safer for the Goombas, but is probably one of my least favorite pain relievers. I can’t even say it relieved the pain, more so it just knocked me out but in a way where I felt like I was under sleep paralysis. I was aware of everything going on around me but I wasn’t able to move, talk, or participate because I was so far under. It was not a pleasant experience and one I do not hope to relive.
The balloon was taking longer than expected and when our nurses rotated, she thought it odd there was nothing attached to help the process along. Basically, they typically add an IV bag of saline to the end of the foley balloon and hang it off the edge of the bed as a means to add some more resistance and allow gravity to help the process along. After doing another cervix check, the doctor went ahead and approved the nurse’s suggestion and exactly 5 hours later the balloon finally came out, leaving me 100% effaced and 5cm dilated…
- Foley catheter balloons can be used to mechanically dilate the cervix and have been helpful to ready the cervix for induction. With this method, small rubber tubing is placed through the cervix and a balloon inside the tubing is inflated just inside the inner edge of the cervix. ↩