“Babies know when it’s time to get out.”
“Don’t rush your baby, he will come when he’s ready.”
“Savor those little kicks and your last chance to sleep all night.”
This is the kind of advice I read as I entered my 40th week of pregnancy with no strong signs of impending labor. So when I scheduled an induction for later that week I felt all kinds of guilty over it. Why can’t my body just figure it out?
Fast forward to another healthy, robust boy of larger than average size, after a safe and pitocin-free induction the next day. My midwife Norine said “I’m so glad you got him out when you did. It was the right time. You made a good choice.” Relief and validation flooded me. Those were the exact words I needed to hear.
Thursday afternoon was the slowest day ever. Minutes crawled by as I waited for 5 pm to confirm my spot for that night at the hospital. Once confirmed, I gave Amanda the call to come over to Jack sit for the next 24 hours. Anxiously I watched the clock crawl to 7:10- time to head to the hospital.
Once checked into my LD suite I got the usual IV and they started penicillin. This being my second baby, they anticipated a quick labor. I ended up getting several (6?) rounds of antibiotics before the birth, since they give them every 4 hours for GBS+ mothers. They put me on the fetal monitors and saw the same old Braxton Hicks contractions I’ve been having for months. I was also still 3 cm dilated, no change from the last two weeks. This meant I could still benefit from misoprostol as a first step. The hospital was running a study of the medication. I happily agreed to participate in their double blind trial to see which route of medication is most effective. Just like with Jack, I had a night time dose, then an early AM dose. Unlike with Jack, not much happened.
Ben and I didn’t sleep much that night. Between the anxiety, uncomfortable beds, and frequent monitoring and medication checks, we each scored about 2 hours of sleep. In the morning I was 4 cm. It was disheartening. Obviously this wouldn’t be a quick induction, and again I worried that I was rushing Sam.
The midwife broke my water at 10 AM. They monitored me for an hour in bed and contractions definitely started for real. At 11 AM I got up to walk around the unit. I waddled in circles for the next hour until they had to put me on the monitor again. Contractions were coming every 3 to 7 minutes and were getting hard to talk through.
After monitoring I tried the jacuzzi tub, remembering how nice it was with my first labor. Not very nice this time. Not sure why it didn’t help the pain. I quickly washed my hair and got out.
Back in bed I was emotionally at a low point. My midwife came in and we talked about starting an epidural. I was worried it would stall labor, since now I was only up to 5 cm. But the pain was getting intense and I was exhausted, so we called anesthesiology.
That’s when I hit my physical low point. It took 3 tries for him to get the epidural placed. The first attempt drew back blood. The second adjustment was incorrect. The third try in a new vertebral space finally worked. And dang, those pricks and tests HURT. During that, my contractions were 1 minute apart or less, lasting 1 minute each. Relief couldn’t come fast enough. I’m hazy of the details, but I would guess it took at least 30 minutes to place the catheter. Finally I dropped back into bed and tried to doze without much success.
At 3:45 I jumped to 7 cm. I couldn’t help but compare this to Jacks birth, because at this point in the day we did 5 minutes of pushing and he was born. I still had a ways to go. I didn’t believe them when they said the last few cm go fast, because everything so far has been slow. I was also bummed that my midwife would have a shift change soon, so I’d have someone else for delivery.
More waiting and waiting.
My folks arrived in Denver and we gave the family an update. I told them to come visit if they want, since I was bored and needing distraction.
But at 6 pm the nurse checked me and I was “9.9 cm.” She and the new midwife decided to let me “labor down” for another 30 minutes and then start pushing. So when Amanda, Jack, and my parents arrived it was just a quick hello. They went out for ice cream to wait.
By this point the epidural was not doing a whole lot. I was pushing the extra dose button as much as I could. I mentioned this to the delivery team. They felt like it would all be over soon and I would do better not to get the dose adjusted, but to just power through. I wish I had argued in hindsight because I felt EVERYTHING.
My day midwife wanted to labor him down a lot, then get him out in one easy push. My new midwife had a different plan. We went slow and steady, pushing for half an hour. Like I said, if I had known it would go on that long I would have insisted on more pain med. But it was too late to go back so I mustered on.
Sam was born at 7:02 pm. He came out purple as a grape and covered in vernix. Despite his alarming color, his Apgars were 8 and 9, quite excellent. He quickly pinked up.
FRESH BABY PICTURE WARNING
I made them small in case you are squeamish. Nothing gross, but still kind of raw looking. Click it if you want to see Sam the Grape larger.
I had warned the team that with my first delivery I had a bad time immediately after. Bad shakes, vomiting, low blood pressure, and needing oxygen. They were cautious with me this time and it paid off. I still had terrible shakes, but they piled on warm blankets and that seemed to help. They let me stabilize before trying to nurse Sam. They didn’t force me to eat any food until I felt ready to and was keeping liquids down.
By 8 pm things were chill in my LD room and we invited my family to come meet Sam.
The next two days in the postpartum unit were uneventful. I took full advantage of the nursery at night so I could sleep between feedings. Feeding Sam was easier because at least I knew what I was doing this time. So only one of us had to figure things out.
We had our checks by the various doctors and nurses and went home on Sunday.
Recovery has been great. Sam has been sleeping well since my last post. He wakes to eat, poop, then goes back to sleep for a couple hours. I also try to get a nap in every day. Usually while Jack naps and Ben plays GTA 5 while watching Sam (he wears headphones of course).
My tearing is so. much. better. than with Jack. Seriously. I didn’t use half the medications and ice and ointments needed last time. Engorgement came and went. My feet were super swollen but they have gone down. I have the icky bread dough stomach and uneasy appetite, but they are fairly mild. I had a migraine for 24 hours that just recently subsided. I get the weepies every day, but that’s also normal. The emotional highs and lows aren’t as crazy as last time. Mostly I have very low stamina. I think another week and I’ll be in pretty good shape. Whether I can take care of two children at once by myself, we shall see.