Birth Story DD #2

My older dear daughter was about 2 years and 2 months old, when we decided we were ready for another baby. By this time, we had moved to another state, and I was a patient at a group ob/gyn practice recently started by four female doctors. I had been using Natural Family Planning (NFP) to prevent pregnancy for about nine months, so I had a really good idea of exactly what was going on with my menstrual cycles. When we decided to conceive we succeeded on the first try, and I knew that I was pregnant within 13 days.

When I went for my first prenatal appointment, the doctor said that since I was in good health with no complications in my previous pregnancy that I might want to consider using the two Certified Nurse Midwives on staff. I really liked the idea, but it took a little time to convince my husband. I explained all of the statistics in favor of using midwives, and he was reassured that one of the doctors would also be available if any complications arose.

Again I had a pretty normal pregnancy. They did monitor my platelet count again. Instead of taking any classes, I read every natural childbirth book I could get my hands on at the library; Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth were the two I went back to the most. Towards the end, I was sent in for an extra ultrasound because my uterus kept measuring small. The baby was fine, though; now they realize that it’s just the way my body carries a baby. I am very tall and thin usually, and when I am pregnant I am all baby. My health care providers are always on me to gain more weight.

While we did not find out the sex with our first child until birth, we decided to go ahead and find out at the ultrasound for the second. Our oldest was having a hard time understanding that it was a baby brother or a baby sister; she kept thinking it was both. So we decided to find out in order to help her get a better grasp of the situation. She had fun suggesting names; her sister will be glad one day that we did not go with “Dairy Queen” or “Tipsey Lipsey”.

On October 6, 2005 I woke up to use the bathroom around 3:30 in the morning. By 4:00 I was pretty sure that I was having contractions. I tried to rest through them for awhile, but just as I started to drift off one would wake me up. They were about 20 minutes apart at that point. For the next four hours, I just sat cross-legged on my side of the bed and breathed through each contraction while my daughter and husband peacefully slept next to me. Looking back, the quiet and dark were really relaxing.

When my husband woke up between eight and nine to get ready for work, I told him that he probably wasn’t going to work that day. He was astounded. At first he wanted to try to go in, but at that point my contraction were about 13 minutes apart. We called the midwife at the office, and she said that I could come into the office and get checked out to see how long I probably had to go. We decided to do that.

However, once my husband woke up and got moving, my daughter also woke up. She wanted juice and breakfast. As I got moving around helping her and packing last minute stuff in my bags, my labor started to speed up. As soon as my mother-in-law arrived to stay with our daughter, we headed down the road to the office. The midwife checked me and said “You need to go to the hospital now. There’s a good chance that you’re going to deliver within the hour.” The other midwife, Shari, who was on call that day was already at the hospital.

By the time we got to the hospital ten minutes later, my contractions were much closer together and more intense. I managed to walk through the hospital to the maternity ward myself, though. I was immediately put in a labor/delivery room. One nurse started asking me a billion questions while another hooked up an IV, a phlebotomist started drawing my blood for one last platelet check, and my midwife was trying to get me as comfortable as possible. At my request, my husband put George Harrison’s album All Things Must Pass into the room’s cd player.

I was doing fine until transition hit. I started panicking which made everything more painful. At one point I was lying on my side with a sheet or pillowcase clinched in my teeth screaming through the contractions. Shari tried to help me calm down; she knew just the right spot to rub to relieve some of the physical pressure. Once I got through transition the contractions seemed to slow down to about every two minutes, and I was able to get myself back under control.

I started having baring down pains not long after. I was sitting up right on the bed with my feet spread on a platform where part of the mattress had been removed. Shari suggested playing tug-of-war with a bedsheet to help make my pushes more productive. I was still kind of apprehensive, though, so I wasn’t pushing that productively. As long as the baby seemed to be ok, Shari let me take my time. At one point she asked if I wanted her to break my water, but I told her no. It wasn’t long after that I felt it pop, and I could tell when a contraction was about to start because some water would come out first.

After about an hour, Shari started becoming concerned about the baby’s heart rate. She said it was time to try something else and go ahead and get her out. They put an oxygen mask on me to help me and the baby. A nurse grabbed one of my legs and as instructed my husband grabbed the other and pushed them up in the air. As soon as they did that, the baby started coming out. I remember feeling that burning ring of fire and everything being stretched, and at one point I yelled, “Get her out of me!” It wasn’t long before her head was out, but they told me to stop pushing because the cord was wrapped around her neck. Unlike with our first daughter, my husband did not get to cut the cord this time.

Once they had the cord cut, getting the rest of her out didn’t seem like much effort at all. I was shocked, though, when Shari just plopped the baby on my belly. After my previous childbirth experience I wasn’t expecting it, and it kind of freaked me out. I was kind of relieved when the nurse took her and started weighing and measuring her and such. It was only a few minutes, though, before they handed a snuggly bundle back to me, and she started nursing not long after that.

She was born at 1:49 PM, and she weighed 6 pounds and 6.6 ounces (good thing we’re not superstitious). I didn’t have any bruising on my face or shoulders, and I didn’t need any stitches. I was excited to get settled into my post-partum room, because I knew that I was there early enough for dinner. I had had some toast and coffee for breakfast that morning, but that was about it. So I was very disappointed when my dinner tray arrived and the main course was asparagus. I have a bad child-hood association with asparagus, but I really, really tried to eat it. Thankfully, my husband called to tell me that he was on the way back to the hospital with our older daughter and his mother and they were stopping by Wendy’s on the way. I had him pick me up some food, too, and asked my mother-in-law to bring me some Honey Maid cinnamon graham sticks.

By the next morning I was able to get out of bed and dig through my overnight bag on my own. A priest arrived to bless the baby not long after I had showered, and he commented that I did not look like I had just had a baby. It made me feel so good. I had really nice nurses the entire time. The one night nurse was great about waiting until she saw my light on before coming in to do the standard checks on the baby and me so that I could rest.

Our new daughter wanted to nurse very regularly, and as a result my uterus was contracting rapidly in the hospital. Even with me staying on top of the pain medication, at times it felt as bad as having labor contractions again. I made one bad nursing mistake, though. I had been used to nursing an older baby and forgotten that newborns really need to be lined up in order to latch on correctly. I had forgotten to line my baby’s body up horizontally with her belly against my body. As a result, I developed really painful sores on my nipples and had set up some bad latch habits.

When my milk came in a few days later at home, I became really engorged from the power-nursing she had done in the hospital. I had to call in some help from my friend Kelly, who was a certified La Leche League consultant by this time. She gave me some tips on getting the baby’s mouth open wider and reminded me about positioning. And I spent several hours in the bath tub soaking my overly-full breasts in really warm water so that they would eject some of the excess milk. Otherwise they were too full for the baby’s small mouth to latch onto.

By the time I went for my six-week check-up, we had pictures to show Shari. The first was the one of me taken about twenty minutes after my first daughter’s birth where I looked on the verge of death. The second was of me smiling and holding my new baby ten minutes after delivery. I told her that I believed the positive difference was due entirely to her. I was grateful that she had been there the whole time, knew so many pain-relief tricks, and had treated me with such respect.

As my due date approaches, I am getting both excited and apprehensive. I can’t wait to meet this new little one and introduce her to her sisters. I am a little nervous because we live further away from the hospital, and my mother-in-law will have a farther drive to get here to stay with our older girls. I also have to be at the hospital six hours before I deliver to receive IV antibiotics for Group B Strep, which I didn’t have with my other two pregnancies. And I am also nervous that I will mentally lose it during transition again.

I’ve looked over all my favorite childbirth books again. This time I think I’m going to skip using music because I spent most of my last labor kind of oblivious to it. (After the third time of the album playing through, my husband and Shari asked if it could be taken out.) I think I would like to recreate the peacefulness I experienced during the night of my last labor if at all possible in a hospital setting. And I’ve already warned my husband that once I realize I am in labor this time I am not moving a muscle until it is time for me to get in the car and head for the hospital, since last time my labor really sped up once I got out of bed and started dealing with child-care issues. So we’ll see what happens this time…four to six weeks to go.

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One Comment on “Birth Story DD #2”

  1. Laura Witten Says:

    There – corrected my Blogger url. Realized it was wrong when I couldn’t get facebook to import it. 🙂

    Your 2nd birth – at least the labor- sounds a bit like mine. I woke up about my normal time, but water broke almost immediately and pains began. Time from awakening to seeing my son – less than 5 and 1/2 hours. It would have been much quicker but we did the epidural – just barely. I was so far along they probably shouldn’t have done one, because all it did was slow me down!

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