As I have been told, every pregnancy is different, every birth is different, every child is different . . . you get the idea.
I was warned that your second birth can come a lot faster – as in you should try to get to the hospital more quickly. With Blue Jay I was having contractions for over 24 hours before I felt that it actually was going to be the real deal and head toward the hospital. From the time I was admitted and until she was born was still another 4 or so hours. This provided plenty of time to “feel contractions”, opt for an epidural, get comfortable, chat with friends and family. The actual pushing part may have been 10-15 minutes, but the overall process was still well over a day and half.
I should have listened.
My water broke, which didn’t happen with Blue Jay, but I wasn’t having contractions. I had heard stories of women’s water breaking and never having contractions. Given that it was not yet 4 a.m., I really didn’t want to have to wake up R and Blue Jay to go to the hospital. I packed a bag and started gathering snacks and the camera, just in case. Sometime close to 5 a.m. contractions started. They started at 45 seconds and 3 minutes apart. I waited because don’t you need an hour of consistency or progression? I didn’t think that 2 or 3 in a row was sufficient.
So I woke up R around 5:45, and Blue Jay was already awake. We had a slight problem though; the nanny wouldn’t be at the house until 7:30. Our neighbor, who was our planned person to watch her if we left in the middle of the night had already left for work (and doesn’t carry a cell phone). We called Papa (R’s dad) and Gramma (my mom), both were going to meet us at the hospital and take care of Blue Jay – presumably take her home until the baby was born.
I packed a bag for Blue Jay, and loaded the car while R got dressed. He didn’t have any pants because he had taken ALL of his clothes to the dry cleaners on Saturday. I strongly preferred that he wore something other than old gym shorts to the hospital. There would be pictures at some point. This required a stop at the dry cleaner’s (yes, I told him we had time to stop at the dry cleaner’s – this was stupid, as was waiting until 5:45 to wake him up).
We made it on the road right in time for rush hour traffic. We got to labor & delivery around 8. The place was packed. I this point I was still able to make small talk, read stories to Blue Jay, take a couple of pictures . . . and then not so much. After about half an hour I told R to upload a contraction timer to his phone because I didn’t have a good feeling about this. From then on, I’d tap him, sometimes not so softly, as a cue to hit the timer button.
I made it back to triage at around 8:45 and to a delivery room a little after 9. Around this time I began to mentally panic. I had heard horror stories (from my mom and her experience delivering my middle brother) about not having enough time for an epidural.
Once in the room, my first request was for the epidural to the point where I think it was the first words out of my mouth, even before saying hello to the nurses. I had never experience something quite like the hour that followed. I really didn’t have a clue how to “work through contractions” and the idea of doing anything at that time, even moving, period, didn’t seem like even a possibility. And I made it explicitly clear that I really didn’t want anyone to touch me or speak to me (or so I was later told). Sometime around 9:45 the anesthesiologist showed up with his stack of paper work that I was supposed to sign before he could shove a needle in my back to make this hell go away. Apparently I couldn’t just sign it afterward. It took awhile, just as it did with Blue Jay. I’ve been told that it looks like I have scar tissue along my spine as if I’ve had back surgery and this causes a great deal of hesitation when it comes to sticking a large needle – there is some concern about hitting the right spot. (and honestly I’d prefer that they hit the right spot, just a wee bit more quickly).
He got it in. The main nurse who was watching the monitor told the others that they’d better prep the room, now, and call my doctor, now. R said afterward, that they were guessing that I had ten minutes, tops. My doctor was at his office, which is across the second floor cross-walk. He didn’t make it over in time.
One of the other doctor’s from his practice was over in labor and delivery for one of her patients and showed up. She said that we could try to wait. I asked the nurses about a catheter, because last time they gave me a catheter. She said she couldn’t put it in until I was numb and it was too late. At some point, the doctor said we couldn’t wait, and that I needed to push, NOW – one normal and one really long excruciatingly painful, burning, filled with “f*cking sh*t this f*cking hurts” push and he was out. At least that part was short.
I have no idea how women go through a natural birth. I don’t really understand why one would, but kudos to you. I am happy with mine. Blue Jay’s was a breeze. It was relaxing, non-stressful, just a feeling of peace. Speedy was short and to the point, albeit a lot more painful. At the end of the day, we all survived and that is the only thing that matters.
We are blessed.