There are a lot of things that change the second time around in pregnancy and birth. The biggest of the changes for me was…. well, me. I’d become much more laid back with my ideas of how things should go in childbirth. I’d become much less concerned with a LOT of things. I think it shows in the difference between the births of my two children. The description of my first birth was nearly as long as the birth process itself (DAYS) and scans three posts. This one was not nearly as painful and therefore, won’t be nearly as daunting to read. 😉
There are some fairly descriptive parts coming and if you’re not a fan of oversharing in the birth experience then thank you very much for reading, I’ll see you later this week with my new post that is less graphic.
So, you like reading birth stories… so do I! The first time around with pregnancy I devoured each and every story I could read. This time around, not so much. As a matter of fact, I didn’t really even think of the birth as much as how I’d handle the weeks home after having the baby.
My first pregnancy I was very concerned with having an all natural process. That didn’t work out as planned. I knew my second kiddo would not be medication free, but I certainly didn’t realize that it would include induction. My first child came 5 days early and with a gestational diabetes diagnosis it was highly believed that kiddo number two would also come early. Three weeks before my due date my doctor said that I was already effacing and beginning to dilate. I told her I had too much to do that week and really needed him to last the week. Her response? “Well, I hope that happens for you.”
People were worried to be around me during our move, Halloween party and at work. Nearly every day at work I heard, “Jenni’s here!” I was thankful for the extra time because I had a ton of little projects going that I needed to wrap up before D-Day. The weekend before my due date I was SURE that would be the time to have the baby. I was having regular contractions, had work wrapped up, had all my bags ready and in the car… I was ready. Contractions slowed down to a stop and I went to work that next week. Suddenly it was the day before my due date and my last day at work.
My doctor and I had decided that if baby didn’t come on my due date we would be inducing the next day. I know a lot of people are against induction, and I certainly wasn’t excited about it, but I decided it was best for me and baby after many months of being swollen and in pain. I spent all day on my due date trying to get things going. The morning of my induction my contractions began as I was getting ready to head out to the hospital. These were most certainly the contractions of an impending birth. Evidently baby agreed that it was the day to come.
They let me naturally contract for about three hours at the hospital after eating a light breakfast and settling in before checking me and discussing our plan. I was only dilated to a two though I had been contracting for some time. My first birth was a very LONG experience, and I knew enough about my body to know that I needed to relax as much as possible to really get this going.
The doctor laid out a few options for me including breaking my water to see if we could get things going fast or starting a small dosage of Pitocin. I opted for the Pitocin because I knew that once that water broke things got… PAINFUL and there was no guarantee it would speed things up. They started out the Pitocin on the lowest dosage and watched it as contractions began to mount. I bounced on the birthing ball and watched episodes of How I Met Your Mother in those early hours.
The plan was that I would labor with the lowest dosages of Pitocin that still kept things going until I couldn’t handle the pain, then I would get an epidural and then break my water if it hadn’t naturally broken. (My water never did break naturally after three days of labor with my first, so I wasn’t really expecting it to happen this time around.)
So many machines!
I knew I wanted a hospital birth from the beginning, even with my first kiddo when I wanted to have him as naturally as possible. I’m glad too because the first baby had seriously scary moments of very low heart rates and I don’t think I would have handled the situation well without a team of professionals nearby. The one thing that comes with hospital births that, while understandable, was also extremely annoying in the whole process was that there are a lot of machines monitoring things.
I had my IV, a monitor for my heart and for the baby’s heart. I was also being monitored every few hours for my diabetes, fever, and blood pressure. Eventually due to the drugs that were going in I had to have the blood pressure cuff on me for the duration of birth and it was going off every few minutes. (OUCH) I had to try to stop and be still in contractions to be readjusted one way or another with the monitors. There were straps, stickers, cords and more coming every which way out of me. It was insane. The nurses were SO kind and helpful with the whole process and explained things to me so I knew what each machine and cord was for, but it was overwhelming in combination with contractions to say the least.
Okay, it’s working now…where is the pain medication?
The whole process went so fast compared to the multiple days of labor I had with my first son. The pain mounted much quicker and to my already swollen and sore body, well, I didn’t last long before I was hoping for pain management. I knew that I wanted to utilize the tub for pain management before getting my epidural. Getting into the tub was a big ordeal. (See above about machines.) It was totally worth it however when I hit the warm water. The water and jets made the pain much more manageable… and, by that point, it was BAD. When I finally knew I couldn’t handle it anymore and the team began prepping for my epidural. They checked me prior to getting the epidural and I was dilated to a six.
***Note: I had heard that laboring with Pitocin was more painful, but I didn’t quite understand how that could be possible after my three days of very painful natural labor. However, I think it is more about how quickly the pain surmounts. When laboring over days the pain gradually got worse and worse and my body seemed to adjust to it. This time around, not so much. ***
The first time around my epidural came as a last ditch effort before heading into C-section because my body was slowly tiring of three days of labor and I just wasn’t progressing. It was as if the heavens opened up when I got my epidural that first time. All of my body relaxed, I was happy, and suddenly the baby as here. AMAZING. I was hoping for the same experience this time around. Like most things with this pregnancy… it was completely different.
They couldn’t get the epidural in due to the swelling that was happening all over my body, including my joints. They poked my back several times trying to get it in and—between the contractions, my fear of the epidural, and the swelling—it just wasn’t happening.
This is about the time that I nearly lose my sh*t. I’m apologizing to just about anyone who will listen because I just can’t do it and my body hates me and etc. etc. etc. The nurse then suggests that they give me some sort of drug to relax me a tad. I wish I had the name of that drug, because holy cow, it sure did do the trick. It was quick acting. I could still feel the contractions and they still hurt in my belly, but that pain just wasn’t making it to my head.
The head anesthesiologist came in during that time and between his skill and the calm that had come over me, well, they finally got the epidural in. They had to place it higher in my back than it was placed in my first birth, and it made a difference for sure. With my first son I could feel nothing of a contraction. I still felt pressure and pain even with the epidural with this birth. However, I did not feel the ring of fire nor were the contractions quite as bad as they were prior to the epidural.
Then things went fast!
The biggest benefit for me with the epidural is how quickly my body relaxed and did it’s thing! I was feeling pressure like crazy and the nurses got my doctor to check on things and break my water. The baby was still pretty far back, but the rest of my body was pretty much ready to go with this whole birth thing. They checked me soon after the epidural was in and my water had been broken (mainly because I was telling them, “I feel like I need to push!”) and I was a ten and nearly completely effaced.
Time to push! My office were waiting an update about the baby nearly all day, knowing I was being induced. Because it was nearing the end of the day I asked my husband to text my office to tell them that the baby was going to be some time off yet because it took me 45 minutes of pushing my first time around. Six minutes later I had him text them back, “The baby is here!” The office emails were quite funny that day.
Our little guy came out in 4 pushes. Each push a gush of water came out with it because the water was still all surrounding the baby. My little guy was over 8lbs and just slipped right out! The doctor actually commented on the fact that the liquid missed the bucket and sort of splashed everywhere.
This little guy was perfect. He had a beautiful round head (benefit of not being in the birth canal very long) and rosy cheeks. I did receive 2nd degree tears from the whole ordeal. However, my first son gave me 3rd degree tears…so, really this wasn’t bad! All in all my larger child was a much easier birth and recovery. I would have loved for birth to come on naturally and all that. However, this ended up being a much easier and enjoyable experience and my son was just fine. Every pregnancy and birth experience is different. This one was a hard pregnancy and easy birth while the first kiddo was a relatively easy pregnancy and hard birth.
I’m over three months from the birth and this experience has been so different than the first time around. He is a lovely kiddo and easy baby. I’m so very much in love. Seriously, look at that chin.