With my first baby I went into labor via slow water leakage and had to be induced. During my second pregnancy I went into the doctor twice to check to make sure I wasn’t leaking water because I already experienced it before. Both times it turned out to be nothing. So, when I was six or seven days away from my due date and I woke up feeling like I was leaking water, I thought I might be in labor, but wasn’t so sure since the last two times were negative. That Wednesday morning, I had a playdate planned with my BFF and her daughter (my daughters BFF, of course), and I didn’t want to cancel it if I wasn’t in labor. It would be a few weeks before we could play again if the baby decided to arrive. I figured I would be able to tell if I was in labor after a few hours, and my next doctor’s visit was the following morning.
The day went on uneventful. The next day I had my husband, Justin, to work from home juuuust in case. We sent our two-year-old to my mom’s while we went to the doctor’s appointment at 11am. We brought our hospital bags – again, just in case. Before the doctor started her exam, I causally mentioned that I once again thought I might be leaking water. To check to see if the liquid you are leaking is fluid from labor, all it takes is a simple PH strip. Once color means yes, another color means no. A quick swipe by my doctor resulted in an immediate “Um yes, you are in labor. It’s time to go!” I pulled up my pants and headed to the hospital.
Even the second time around, while I had a better understanding of what to expect, I still had the nervous jitters. We called our parents on the way to the hospital to let them know it was go time. It was pretty quiet on the maternity floor when we walked in. I was checked in probably by noon, then hooked up to the fetal monitor, vitals taken, etc. The monitors showed light contractions but I wasn’t feeling much of anything. Justin and I hung out, chatted a bit, but nothing progressed all that much. I was uncomfortable, but not really in any noticeable pain.
When the doctor arrived, I wasn’t feeling hard contractions yet but she had a feeling it wasn’t going to take long. My first birth experience went pretty quickly once it got moving and, in her experience, that meant this one was going to be faster. She administered Pitcoin and decided to fully break my water. Once again that did the trick and contractions started coming hard and fast. She asked if I wanted the epidural and I said I would wait a little bit. I did this the first time too, and I don’t know why I didn’t learn my lesson. By the third time I do this, I swear I’ll ask for the epidural earlier. Thirty or forty minutes passed before I called for the anesthesiologist. I gave him a heads up that it took four tries to get the epidural in with my first labor. He told me that that shouldn’t have been the case, and that he would have me all set shortly…
The reason “They say” not to wait too long for the epidural is because you may miss your window of time to get it, before you have to push. Also, it’s not fun try to sit still on a bed, slightly hunched over while they try to get the epidural in, when you are having vision blinding contractions a minute or less apart. Almost a full hour, and three unsuccessful attempts later, the anesthesiologist finally got it in the right place. First time moms- this is NOT typical, my back/spine must just be a little bit special. I don’t know any other mom who had trouble with their epidurals.
Once the epidural was set, I waited for the relief to kick in. The epidural only took the edge off, and I was having sharp pain and discomfort above my pubic bone on my right side. Justin called the nurse in. She decided to insert the catheter in case I had to pee, causing pain, before she called the anesthesiologist back. She barely got a chance to look under the hood before she panicked and yelled “Don’t push! Don’t push! I’ll be right back!” as she ran out of the room. Apparently, the baby was already crowning. I was having Déjà Vu.
The doc came in, gave me a few instructions and a stern “Okay. Push on this contraction!” Two pushes and three F-Bombs later – Baby Z was here! Justin got to cut the cord and call out the sex of the baby. By 5:00 pm that wrinkly purple tiny creature was snuggling on my chest. We had names picked out for both a girl and a boy since we didn’t know the sex. But with our new little girl in our arms we threw them all out and went with a name that was on our “potential” list instead. Weird game time last minute change, but it suits her much better than the other options.
This second experience was far less overwhelming for me, than the first, since I had more of an idea of what expect. I could enjoy those first moments so much more. I was able to soak it all in and say hello to my little bundle with more confidence than I could with our first one. I was still exhausted – labor is flat out exhausting, but I was very lucky to only have to push for a short time. The second experience for me was far more “magical” than the first one, I was too overwhelmed and mentally and physically exhausted after my first child arrived to feel the magic. It came a week or two later after we had settled in at home, but this one happened in that post labor moment like you see on TV. Both experiences were exhausting, scary, incredible and special in their own right. And yes! I still want at least one more!