One thing that happily surprised me about my second pregnancy is that – other than the extra exhaustion of having a toddler around – it was very similar to my first. I always hear about how people have completely different pregnancies and babies but I was thankful that my second pregnancy (and eventual baby) was just as smooth as my first.
That’s why, when my second labor started EXACTLY the same way as my first labor, I settled in for the ride.
Preparing for The Long Ride
This is where I have to mention a bit about my first labor. I went into labor very early on a Monday, just in time to not have to go in to work that day (woo!). Around 4 am I woke up to go to the bathroom and peed myself on the way.
I paced for a while, worried that it was my water breaking, but it was soon evident that I had just peed myself… and I was also starting to have contractions. Over 25 hours later (which included about 12 hours at home, an eventual epidural, some Pitocin, and two hours of pushing), I had my first baby!
The second time around, it was eerily similar. Around 1 am on a Monday morning, I woke up to go to the bathroom and peed myself on the way. Feeling a sense of deja vu, I paced around to see if my water had broken and again confirmed that I had only peed myself.
Once again, the contractions started. I started using my contraction timer app and notified my husband. Being a night owl he was still awake so laid down to try to get some rest. Realizing that I wasn’t going into work that Monday (woo again!), I got out my computer and sent off a few final emails.
Fast forward a few hours and the contractions were getting closer together but weren’t quite consistently at that 5-1-1 rule. At my appointment a few days earlier I was only a “fingertip” dilated so I expected it to take a while, just like my first birth.
Time to Go?
However, there were a few long contractions and they were getting pretty painful so I decided to call the OB and she said to come in. I woke up my husband, who woke up my 2-year-old, and I called my parents who live near the hospital and planned to meet us to get our daughter.
The hospital is anywhere from 20-30 minutes away depending on traffic, but luckily it was 5 am. My contractions got very strong while we drove and my husband drove faster and faster. During that drive I learned that moms really are super heroes, because I somehow managed to reassure my 2-year-old that mommy was ok, while I was basically approaching the transitional labor phase.
We got to the hospital around 5:15 am and my husband dropped me off at the ER entrance so he could park and hand off my daughter. I discovered that I had never been at that hospital and I wasn’t in their system (and had not had the foresight to pre-register). They called for transport while they attempted to extract my demographic information and find out why I was alone.
At some point, I told them that I needed an epidural and they said they’d get me one. It took forever (well, 15 minutes) for the nurse to arrive to transport me to triage. My husband made it inside and as we walked towards the delivery area the nurse started moving faster and faster, and eventually radioed that she was putting me straight into a room because I was “clearly in active labor.”
The next 15 minutes were a blur. I remember insisting that I take my own shoes off but then my husband and a nurse had to wrestle the rest of my clothes off. After being asked for about the fifth time if I wanted an epidural – and saying YES – and hearing, “Ok, I’ll go order that now,” I realized that I wasn’t going to get one. I broke down a bit and told my husband that I couldn’t do it anymore.
Some nurse kept insisting that she needed to get a monitor on my belly, “for the baby’s safety,” but I could feel the baby all the way in the bottom of my pelvis and said that I felt like she was coming. Someone told me to push if I wanted to push but it sounded like she was a bit doubtful that I knew what I was talking about. A nurse checked me and told the OB – who had just come in from halting preparations for someone else’s C-section – that she saw hair. I’m pretty sure the OB didn’t believe her and said it must be something else.
I heard someone explain that it was too late for an epidural and I was going to have a natural birth (no s*** Sherlock!). The next contraction came, I pushed, very clearly felt the “ring of fire” that I’ve heard about, and out popped her head. One more push and she was fully out. 5:44am. We had left our house 45 minutes before that. My parents weren’t even all the way home with my daughter. After my previous 25-hour labor I thought that 5-hour labors were a myth, but I was very mistaken!
And Baby Makes Four
I kind of love this photo that was taken minutes after she was born, because you can see the shock and nerves on my face, and you can see how my daughter felt about being plunged into the world like that.
My daughter turned one recently, and over the past year we have learned a lot about our two girls. They are so similar in so many ways, but the biggest difference is in how they approach trying new things. My oldest likes to jump right into things even if she’s not ready and learns along the way. My youngest will wait, and watch, until she is confident she can do it, and then she jumps in and is an immediate pro. I think their birth stories reflect that.
Even thought I asked for an epidural several times (because my first birth was so long!), I am so happy with my unmedicated birth and would do it again in a heartbeat. My recovery was 1000 times better than my first. If I ever have another child, the only thing I will do differently is leave for the hospital as soon as I pee myself in the middle of the night!
Love birth stories? Check out How He Entered: Cyrus’ Water Birth Story by Becky Hammond.
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Featured Image: Edited from Juan Galafa- Unsplash
In Post Image: Author’s own