The Sensitive Subject of Induction With Animal Products & A Vegan Pregnancy

by | August 6, 2018

The Truth About Induction And Vegan Pregnancy

We all want what’s best and “natural” for our bodies and especially our babies, right? I was that woman. The moment I found I was pregnant it was goodbye coffee (yes, I did that while working a full time and sometimes stressful job), hello vegan prenatal, DHA and probiotics. Goodbye to any and all cold medicines, and hello a LOT more of that thing called relaxation!

When we got pregnant it was one of those unexpected surprises. I mean, we were sort of trying and sort of not, having the mindset of if it happens (after 5 years of marriage) it happens and well, it did. I just happened to also be in the best shape of my life, after becoming full-on vegan with almost 10 years without animal products under my belt, getting into boxing at a professional fighting gym (hello abs!) so I felt pretty darn incredible! Having a background of a slew of medical issues from autoimmune symptoms to a car accident that affected my back, I embraced my new healthy and happy feeling in life and guess what? That didn’t change all that much in pregnancy!

Yes, I was one of those people who had a pretty darn good pregnancy. I worked out with my boxing instructor until about 6 months, hardly ever felt sick, maybe puked once when I overdid it on some vegan chocolate cake and was able to nap like nobody’s business.

However, there was a scare at about my 6-month mark. We were getting really busy at work and I was getting more and more huge, and living in California the springtime can get pretty hot and I kept forgetting to stop my chats with clients and drink water. Well, wouldn’t you know it one fateful day at work I was doubled over in severe pain and having realized I didn’t feel my active kicker (his daddy was a soccer player) as much, as usual, that day, I ended up leaving to go to the hospital. They monitored me for a few hours and determined that I was a bit dehydrated and gave me fluids to get the baby going.


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I felt terrible sitting in that hospital bed. I was that person who was so careful and then all of a sudden,  I was in hospital terrified about my baby’s safety. But thankfully, after getting my fluids back up, and possibly some needed downtime, everything was alright. But what did change was me realizing I absolutely 100% need to put my own and my babies need far above anything else. For the next couple of months, I made sure I drank water, snacked regularly and let stress pass onto others. Even so, my doctor thought it would be good for me to take my pregnancy leave as early as possible in case any more complications arose so I did just that!

Those couple weeks off work, I felt amazing. I had this little wonder growing inside of me, all the free time in the world to nurture him, prepare for him, welcome him and educate myself on how to be the best parent ever. The closer I got to my due date the more excited I grew thinking about “when it happens” and grabbing our well-packed bags and heading to the hospital, which was only a few minutes from us. The plan, it couldn’t have been any more perfect. But that didn’t happen. I remember at the second to last OB visit she mentioned the word induction. I asked, “what’s that?” No seriously, it didn’t even cross my mind.

I left that appointment bewildered. I knew about c-section if the baby is too big, but why would someone have to be induced into labor? It was something me and my OB talked about during our visit.

I read that sometimes your body just naturally doesn’t dilate all the way to allow the baby to come out. Being less than one week away from my due date, my doctor didn’t think I was on schedule enough. I also read that with induction there are a few different ways, but sigh, they all involve some form of drugs. Controlled drugs, but still drugs! Eek. Being the determined and natural momma I am, there was no way that I wasn’t going to have this baby exactly to my well-scripted birth plan, all done on pretty card stock printed paper!

So I set out to try every trick in the book to induce labor. And guess what? It was stressful! I felt like I must be broken because nothing worked. In the days leading to my dreaded due date OB appointment, I didn’t sleep. I was a wreck. Why was this not going to plan? Did I do something wrong? Is there something wrong with my little angel vegan baby? Why, oh why is he not here yet?!

After submitting to my fate at the doctor’s office, I knew I needed one last bit of control. I pushed for my induction to be scheduled at the very latest that my doc was comfortable with and that was 8 days late. Leaving that office visit I felt like a failure.

So you better believe that for the next 8 days I walked, exercised, did the “thing” that made the baby, ate spicy food and drank every type of herbal supplement that supposed to help you go into labor and nothing worked. So when my induction day arrived I was excited, relieved, scared and nervous. But felt that after exhausting all options and myself, there must be a reason why I had to go this route. And there was!


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After close to 27 hours “in labor” and the mandatory drug, Pitocin running through my typically completely natural body, the nurses found out that due to a cyst I had removed when I was in my teens, scar tissue was effectively blocking my little guy from coming out. Eeekk what? Like he’s been trapped? Poor guy! Once they knew why my body was ready to go, but no baby, they and to perform a relatively quick little operation to remove scar tissue and gave me an epidural (yes more drugs, but mandatory for this procedure) and all of sudden I went from zilch dilated to a whopping 8 centimeters! It was D time, or not…

After about 2 hours I just couldn’t get to the final 2cm and the nurse who had been helping me sadly had to end her shift but was confident we would have a new baby before the 12 am hour and wished our new baby still in my tummy a happy birthday. At this point I’m not going to lie, I was terrified and doubted myself so much, but what was an I supposed to do? I literally had no control over this situation, so you know what I did? I talked to my baby and had a heart to heart with him. I told him he needs to come out now because we’ve been waiting quite long and although his comfy in there, I promise I will make him just as comfy in my arms. I apologized that we didn’t realize he wasn’t able to come out on his own and told him we can definitely do this! And you know what? I think the little guy heard me because not much later, the doctors found me almost at 10 centimeters and their fear of a c-section lessened.

But I still had a lot of work to do and asked to please hold off the c-section until the very last moment because I had a chat with my baby and I think he is ready! (I may have been a bit loopy but I really think we were both just ready!) And wouldn’t you know it, after 31 hours of labor and only about 30 minutes of pushing, my little miracle, my beautiful baby boy, was in my arms as perfect and healthy as they come.

8 months later not only is he thriving, but he is smart, silly, happy and healthy! All my preconceived ideas and, frankly, judgment about induction and epidurals faded far away. After all, I had modern science to thank for this miracle and I, in no way can ever shun that now.

Do I think it’s awful that at one point they may have tested this drug on animals? Heck yes!

Do think its gross that some of it can be derived from animals? Absolutely.

Do I consider myself any less vegan for allowing modern technology help me bring a healthy baby into this world? Absolutely not.

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Reene Pheonix

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