Plan for the birth you want. Prepare for all that can happen.
When I found out that baby #2 was on the way, I decided to have an epidural. You see, I had gotten an epidural with my first baby and I was satisfied with it. I felt like I was able to stay in control and not lose my cool.
I thought that if I could get an epidural with my second birth, then it would be a peaceful birth and my now 5 year-old daughter could stay in the room and be a part of it all. After all, she was about to become a big sister.
So I went through my pregnancy, ignoring childbirth preparation classes or learning anything about how to manage the pain. Long before labor began, we had decided my mom and I would go to the hospital and let my husband sleep til birth was close at hand. Then, he and our daughter would come and be part of the birth of the new baby.
This was my plan from the very beginning. My only plan. Big mistake, right?
When it comes to birth, there are so many possible outcomes. Yet, I didn’t plan for anything other than getting an epidural and having a quiet, easy birth. What the hell was I thinking?
I didn’t plan for an emergency c-section, or if the baby was born at home. I didn’t even think about it. I only planned on getting that stupid epidural.
As I got closer and closer to my due date, I still didn’t prepare for anything. This was my second time around,… piece of cake. So, I packed my hospital bag and installed the new car seat in my car. But that’s about all I did.
The week before the baby came. My feet were swollen, my face was puffy, and I was really congested. These were all signs. So I knew I’d be holding baby #2 in a matter of days.
Contractions started strong and they were around 7 minutes apart and very noticeable. When I say noticeable, I mean lasting about 90 seconds and they made me pause everything I was doing just to cope with them. We decided to head to the hospital to get checked.
I was dilated to 3 cm, 90% effaced and baby was at 0 station. But my contractions were still too far apart, so I was sent home with the instruction to return when they got more regular and more intense. Hmpff!
For the next 3 days, I experienced Stop and Go labor. I was feeling so much low pelvic pressure from my baby’s head that all I wanted to do was to lay down. But I didn’t. I walked, and walked. I did what I could safely do to encourage my contractions to get more regular and do their job.
I had Stop and Go contractions for 4 days. FOUR stinking DAYS! We even went to the movies to get my mind off of labor.
Finally, finally, after 4 days, the contractions seemed to get a little more regular and a little more frequent. On the way to the hospital this time, I kept thinking “These contractions suck. Once I know I’m progressing, I’m getting the epidural so I can get some sleep.” I went through the check-in process and in Labor and Delivery triage the nurse gave me yet another cervical check. I was at 5cm. You’re kidding me! Ugh, after four days of labor, my cervix had only dilated 2 more lousy centimeters. The nurse said that she could feel my amniotic sac and the baby’s head was right there. (0 station). After some discussion, they finally admitted me and moved me to a birthing room. This was around 8:00 am.
I told myself “one more centimeter and I can get the epidural.” I didn’t want my contractions to stop which can happens sometimes with an epidural. Then you need pitocin to get the contractions going and so on.
Instead, my mom and I walked the halls of the hospital,… round and round and round.
Sometime around 10:30, I decided it was time for the epidural. I was so tired. You can imagine, right? I hadn’t really slept in the last four days. Sporadic contractions. Nerves. Cranky five year old. Anxious husband. Nervous, hovering mom. So I just wanted a little nap before the pushing started.
The nurse went to check my cervix again, before calling for the epidural, and that’s when my water broke. Oh my gosh! After that, all hell broke loose! The contractions magnified ten fold! I couldn’t breathe! They were so intense! Lasting about 90 seconds on, 30 seconds off. My whole body was contracting, not just my uterus. I needed that epidural, dammit, but no! I had to have an entire liter of fluids before they would give it to me. WHAT THE ???!!!
I had been so sure I’d get an epidural, I wasn’t ready to feel those intense contractions. It was total agony.
By 11:00 I was squirming in the bed and screaming: I needed my doctor. I had the urge to push. No one believed me! The nurse checked me again (fk#z#ch@!!!) and sure enough, I was fully dilated.
Everything was happening so fast. Too fast. I wasn’t ready to feel so much pain. I wanted an epidural. I wanted a calm birth that my daughter could be a part of. None of it was happening the way I had planned!
Some time ago, my mom had called my husband and told him to hurry. When he came running in the room, I was already pushing. And screaming at the top of my lungs! I was birthing my second baby completely unmedicated. He rushed to me and my mom scooted out the door with my terrified daughter to get her away from me – Yes, I was that scary!
Later, I felt bad for the maternity wing, my screams must have scared a lot people!
I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl: 6 lbs 15 oz.
In the end, I’m very proud of myself. I do wish, however, that I had prepared for a natural, unmedicated birth. I know with proper training I would have been able to stay calm and breathe through the pain.
The moral of my story is this: Plan for what you want. But, prepare for all the ways your plan can go wrong.
I’d love to hear your birth story. Post below or head on over to our Materpillars Facebook page and give us a shout out.