We were induced at 41 weeks at Waikato. This was 3 weeks ago and they were using the gel still, but the Monday after we were induced they were changing over to Cervidil which is apparently like a tampon that releases the prostogladin slowly over a 24 hr period. I mention this as apparently it can change how long it takes, as the Cervidil can take longer as it is a slow release rather than the gel which is in one big lot at 6 hour intervals. If you do happen to be in Waikato I have heard they are still offering the gel as an alternative at the moment.
Anyway, sorry about that, back to the point - we were induced with gel.
Our first lot of gel was at 4pm, and my cervix was not open or dilated at all at this point.
I felt small regular contractions after about an hour, but pretty light, I could still easily walk through them, but they petered out after a few hours - I spent the first couple of hours walking down stairs (apparently walking down stairs has the same impact as walking up, so best to save your energy, I just kept pressing level 9 on the lift smile)
9.30 we were put on the monitor, which they require for half an hour prior to next lot of gel - this showed small contractions but only about 2 within 10 minutes.
10pm internal showed my cervix had shortened right up, but not dilated at all so I had a second lot of gel.
Within an hour I could feel they were pretty strong
2.30pm ish I started with the gas.
I'm not sure where you are birthing, but the policy at Waikato is no partners over night when you are being induced until you are in established labour - I called DH about 1.45 when I felt things were really happening.
Also at Waikato you are on the ward until you are 3cm, at which point you head to delivery suite to have waters broken, and have 2 hours from that point to really get going or else they start you on the drip. I'm not sure if the procedure if the same throughout NZ.
So, 3.30 we were monitored again ready for 4am gel and baby was showing decels in heart rate, we had an internal and I was 3cm, so we went to delivery suite and baby was born at 5am.
We were induced the first time round also and we progressed very quickly from 3cm then as well.
As a side point, a policy they also have is that once you have birthed they give you a shot of oxytocin in your leg (if you haven't been on it to force contractions anyway) to force you to contract to get the placenta out quickly. The first time round I remember having just pushed DS1 out and still had my eyes closed and catching my breath and I was stabbed in the leg with the oxytocin. So this time round as soon as DS2 was out I was like 'please don't stab me with the needle!!!' and the lovely midwife put the oxytocin through the saline drip that I had in. I would request this if I was you smile
Wow that was a bit of a novel, if you have any questions please feel free to ask.
I spent as much time as possible on my swiss ball, all monitoring was done while I bounced/rocked on the ball by the machine, I think that this really really helped, alongside trying to relax as much as possible through the contractions, which is hard, but I truly believe this helps speed things along smile