Be prepared for lots of details and if you aren’t into details about the birth of a baby, feel free to skip this post. First a little recap. Greta’s birth was a normal length. My water broke, contractions started, I got an epidural, hated the doctor who was on-call, and was overall unhappy with how things went. All in all it was about 16 hours from start to finish. Eloise’s birth was fast and furious, but again water broke, contractions started. She was born 18 minutes after we got to the hospital. There was no time for anything other than someone checking the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor, no gown, no IV, no registering at the hospital, nothing. Just wham, a baby is here. Eloise’s birth was 2 hours and 40 minutes from start to finish.
Since we barely made it to the hospital with Eloise, we were very cautious about this next delivery as there was a chance that it could be even faster. But there was also the chance that it wouldn’t be any faster and since you never know how things will go we opted to go to the hospital at what turned out to be very early in the process. On Tuesday I was scheduled to go to the midwife for a checkup and they were supposed to be checking my cervix, but that appointment got cancelled due to the midwife helping out with a c-section and was rescheduled for Thursday. On Tuesday most of the day I felt a little off. I wasn’t very hungry and just didn’t feel as I had most of the recent days. I was exhausted. I did accomplish some things that needed to be done, mainly getting my car inspected. I also went to the grocery store and attempted to make lasagna for dinner. I got the lasagna made, but not in time for dinner thanks to a cranky Eloise who just wanted me to hold her after her nap for an hour or two. So now there was plenty of food for the family should I be gone!
After the girls were in bed I took a long hot shower and I still just wasn’t feeling quite right, but I couldn’t really figure out why. The baby was moving in my least favorite way of pushing her butt as far out as possible and also as far into my ribs as possible. Not very comfortable. Matt gave the baby a talking to and told her to come out and stop making me uncomfortable. I went up to bed probably around 8:45 or so, but just couldn’t get comfortable. Around 9:15 I started feeling some contractions. They weren’t painful at all, but just uncomfortable and often I couldn’t really tell if it was the baby pushing out or a contraction since the both turned my belly into a rock. I kept laying there, trying to will myself to sleep, but it just wasn’t working. I would get probably 3-5 contractions close together (2-3 minutes apart) and then nothing for 10-15 minutes. Eventually I got out of bed and went to tell Matt that I thought I was in labor. We headed downstairs and I contemplated a few minutes before I called my friend, Christina, who was to stay with the girls, to come over. She came right over and we tried to decide whether we should go to the hospital or stay home for a while. The contractions weren’t that regular or painful, but they weren’t with Eloise either (I think they were more regular, but definitely not painful) and then once we were in the car it was fast and furious, so we had no idea what to expect this time.
At maybe 11 or 11:30 we decided to go ahead and head to the hospital for them to check me out and determine if I should stay or not. The midwife said she wouldn’t be coming in right away, but that the nurse would call and give her an update once I was there. The hospital is about 15-20 minutes away and on the way there I wasn’t sure I had any contractions and was definitely second guessing myself. We trudged on though and went to the wrong entrance to the hospital at first, but eventually made it to the emergency room entrance. The hospital is brand new and had only been open about 6 weeks and the staff definitely seemed somewhat confused. We walked for what seemed like a mile to get to the maternity ward. I got registered and all that jazz (something I missed out on last time), then went to the triage room to get monitored. Good news I was definitely contracting, just not that regularly. After being monitored for a while, the nurse checked my cervix and it was completely closed, nothing, nada. She called the midwife, who said I could go home, but the doctor who was in the hospital would have to write the discharge papers since she wasn’t actually there. The doctor thought I should walk around for 30 minutes and see if that changed things at all. So we walked around the labor and delivery area for 30 minutes. There were definitely some slightly painful contractions while walking, but nothing that made me stop or anything. Thirty minutes of walking yielded maybe a cm of dilation and some ripening. So, definitely the beginning of labor, but not very active or regular labor just yet. The doctor suggested I stay based on my previous history and the fact that we were very unsure about going home since how would we know when to actually head back to the hospital, since last time things sped up so fast. As you can tell Eloise’s birth pretty much put us in fear of what would happen this time. We really didn’t want a car birth and so we were super cautious.
I got transferred to a regular labor and delivery room and got settled in. The nurse put in a hep-lock, which is 10 zillion times better than an IV. I was hoping not to have to have an IV since it pretty much renders my hand useless and is super annoying. I got some blood taken and got settled in bed. We did go for another little walk to see if the contractions would become more regular, but they didn’t, and we were exhausted, so we tried to rest. Neither Matt or I actually slept much. Finally maybe around 4 I think I fell asleep for an hour or so. When I woke up and looked at the contraction monitor I saw nothing, apparently the contractions stopped while I was sleeping. Darn. Around 7 or so, the midwife came in to chat. She said that since I was only 38.5 weeks pregnant they weren’t going to induce or anything and that it would probably be best to just go home if I hadn’t progressed much. Before leaving though she checked my cervix and I was at 4 cm and mostly effaced (I think?), so she said never mind, you are definitely staying since last time things picked up so fast. She said that she would come back in an hour or two and break my water and see if that got things going. She was fairly convinced it would get things moving along and we would have a baby within a couple of hours. I was a little skittish about it since I really didn’t want to end up with pitocin and oodles of other stuff should the breaking of the water not work. But she was confident that we wouldn’t need it, so we agreed to it. She told me to order some breakfast and rest until she got back.
Ate some breakfast, walked around a little, and waited for the midwife to get back. She broke my water around 9 am, which is just oh so pleasant. Since my water broke to start both previous labors, I knew the joys of it, lots of random gushes, getting me all wet, fun times. Contractions started to pick up a bit and started to get a little more painful. I requested a birth ball (big yoga ball) and bounced around on that for a while. Then I requested to go in the jacuzzi around 10 (I think, my concept of time was rapidly diminishing). The jacuzzi was glorious, warm water, relaxing and all I really wanted to do was lay there and fall asleep. While I was in there the contractions definitely increased in severity, to the point where I was actually having to breathe through them. I was afraid I would get to the point where I wouldn’t be able to get out of the tub, so around 11, I got out and headed back to my room. The tub was comfortable, but I wish it was a more circular shape rather than oblong. I could really only sit one way in the tub and I wasn’t that comfortable after a while in that position. Matt mostly just sat there watching me relax in the tub. I’m pretty sure he was a bit bored, but alas there was really nothing to do.
After the tub, came bouncing on the ball. Matt was convinced I was going to fall off the ball or something, but I did not. I mostly bounced on the ball and rested my head on the bed during contractions. This caused the monitors to not measure the babies heart rate, so after a while I had to stop that. I tried sitting in the rocking chair, which was not comfortable at all. I much preferred the ball. At some point I decided I wanted to know how much longer, which meant they checked my cervix. I was only 6-7 cm, and was disappointed. I told them they must be wrong, I was 10 and ready to push. Ha! Wishful thinking. Even though I said I didn’t want an epidural, they offered since I was complaining a lot and just asking for it to be over. I was also saying how I couldn’t do this anymore. I kept refusing since I really didn’t want one because I didn’t like how I felt when I had one with Greta. A few minutes later I went to the bathroom and getting rid of the pee definitely helped make way for the baby. While I was sitting there I thought I needed to start pushing, so I sent Matt to get the midwife and nurse and then got into bed. There was definitely plenty of heavy breathing, along with some yelling, I think. I think they checked me again when I got in the bed and I was 9 cm, maybe, so definitely close to pushing.
I’m totally foggy on the time frame here. I was apparently not doing a very good job breathing and instead doing too much yelling and too fast of breathing, but I was trying my hardest, and also telling them I couldn’t do it, and couldn’t slow down my breathing. At some point I mentioned that my arms were tingly and they said that was because I wasn’t breathing slow enough. Eventually they put the oxygen mask on me so that I could get more oxygen. There was pushing, I’m not sure for how long, but longer than with Eloise, maybe 15 minutes or so. I’m not sure why, but they always want me to hold my legs to push and I never want anything to do with it. I want to put a death grip on the bed rails or someone’s hand and have someone else hold my legs. To me, when I’m having a contraction I feel almost paralyzed by the pain and refuse to move at all. In fact I’m pretty sure there were several times when I said I can’t move or I can’t do that. I’m pretty pathetic during labor. Eventually Beatrice’s head came out, but her shoulders were a bit stuck, so her head was out for about a minute (I’m told, I have no idea how long) before they were able to move her below my pelvic bone to get her shoulders out. In the interim the midwife starts yelling for some extra help since the baby was stuck and there wasn’t really anyone around. I think there were two nurses, plus a shadowing doctor (who wasn’t supposed to touch anything, just observe). So her body came out and they put her on my chest. As they were handing Matt the scissors to cut the cord, the realized how blue she was and the midwife cut her cord instead and they rushed Beatrice over to the newborn care thing (in the room) to give her some oxygen. After a few minutes they brought her back over to me. However, there was still some excitement going on for me, so I handed her back to Matt since there was lots of pain and discomfort. There was lots of pushing on my abdomen to help the placenta deliver. They hooked me up to an IV to give me some pitocin to help the placenta deliver and FINALLY about 30 minutes later the placenta was pushed out. It was hanging on in there for way too long. The midwife gave me some shots of numbing medicine before attempting to stitch me up, but it didn’t seem to help at all, so I could feel each and every stitch that she made, and well I didn’t really want to drop my brand new baby, so Matt held her. After all that jazz, I was finally ready to hold Beatrice and nurse her. I did hold her for a few minutes here and there between the pain, but this was the first prolonged holding and first nursing. She mostly latched on easily and nursed off and on for probably an hour and a half to two hours.
About 3 hours after birth the newborn nurse finally came in and weighed, measured, and bathed her.
Edited: This totally needs a conclusion. I was ready to be done with the post and so just hit publish. Overall I was kind of satisfied with how things went. I think I was definitely a wimp, but I DID make it through without drugs, so yay! I think I was just totally thrown for a curve since it was so different than the last labor and in my head I had convinced myself that it would be similar. Alas, each labor is likely going to be totally different and there really is no way to know how it will happen until it happens. I’m proud that I was able to do it without drugs, but wish I could handle pain a little better. This recovery period was definitely better than the previous ones. I had some definite aches and pains for a few days, but then nothing. While I’m definitely still taking it easy, it is so much easier to go up and down the stairs and to move around in general now that I’m not pregnant.