When I found out we were expecting our second, I knew that I wanted this labor and birth to be a better experience than the first one had been, even if it was as long or painful. I found out when I was 2 months along. The edd (according to my calculation based on my cycle) was January 4th. I set out to research more than I had during my first pregnancy and this time I knew what to look for. I spent hours upon hours every week looking up new information and drilling things into memory. I decided I wanted a water birth this time and since we had a little money saved up I decided to get a few extra things for my birth kit that I thought would be helpful.
Coming into this labor I felt confident in the God-given ability my body had to birth a second child. Something that my first labor with my son taught me was that even if I didn’t think I could, my body knew it could. I was much more relaxed and at peace this time, and having already experienced it I had time to prep my mind just in case it was just as hard as it was the first time. I trusted that the Lord would give me the strength and give me direction if anything wasn’t as it should be.
I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on a Friday with what I thought were just bad Braxton Hicks. After a minute or so I realized that I had not been able to sleep well that night because of them. I got up and went to the bathroom. When I wiped I noticed that I was loosing my mucus plug and that it was tinged with blood. I figured I should go lay down and see if I could go back to sleep, but wasn’t able to. When my husband got up to get ready for work about an hour and a half later I was still awake. So I explained the situation to him and to be on the safe side we decided he should stay home from work.
I went out into the living room and lay down on the sofa, trying to get more rest. I finally fell asleep and slept from 7-8. For some reason when I had first woken up I had a terrible earache in one of my ears and it made me want to cry. After my nap it was still hurting bad. We tried putting hydrogen peroxide in it with me laying on my side and letting it sit for half a minute, but that didn’t seem to help. So then we put some horehound tea in it, using an old remedy that my husband’s grandmother used to use. Still I found no relief. We tried the method our chiropractor uses to adjust/pop the ears, but nothing was helping much. So I asked my husband and he kindly massaged and did some reflexology on my feet. Finally, something worked!
I called my mom to let her know I was having “Braxton Hicks” and they were like 12 minutes apart. I also told her that I had an earache and had bloody tinged mucus plug when I wiped… I didn’t act like it was a big deal, and didn’t want to say that I had started labor as I didn’t want to get my hopes up or rush anything. However, I figured I’d mention it so that she would be ready in case I went into active labor in the afternoon or evening. When my husband and I timed my contractions, right after talking with her, we realized that they were actually 7-10 minutes apart, but I was still in denial and thought it was probably prodromal labor.
I had shared with my mother and mother-in-law that this time around I was planning on laboring without anyone else in the home but my husband and son. However, I told them that though I might choose to go it alone that I would give them a heads up if I felt like it so that they could be prepared if I decided to call them while in active labor or transition. Since my mom lived further from us than my mother-in-law I decided to give her a call earlier on. (Also, I did not want to give too much of a heads up as people had been texting my mil while I was in labor my first time and had kept asking her how things were going. I didn’t want that pressure or everyone calling to see how I was while I was in labor this time).
I went about my day as normally as possible, cleaning, doing things as usual… every time I had a contraction I would tell my husband so we could keep track. When they were about 4-7 minutes apart they were difficult enough that I had to focus on breathing well through them. I discovered that humming (a tune such as Amazing Grace) really helped me in managing the pain. I snacked on cottage cheese and crackers, as well as other foods throughout the day. I also made sure that I was drinking water or juice. It really helped to keep my energy up.
We cleaned out the room where I wanted the birth to take place, laid down the plastic, set up the birth pool, laid out towels, etc. However, I planned that I wouldn’t fill it and get in until the contractions were consistently 2-3 minutes apart for a good while. (Expecting that I would have a long labor like my first).
At about 5 minutes apart I started to allow myself to believe that I was truly in labor and might be getting close to active labor in around an hour. :p (Going of course off of my past experience). I think because the contractions weren’t near as painful as I remembered in my labor with my son being that I kept thinking they were going to get twice as bad and I had a ways left to go yet. So, to speed things along I put in a workout DVD and did a simple one mile walk. (I had been exercising during my pregnancy and it was not too strenuous or difficult, just simple walking moves). During the workout the contractions shortened to 2-3 minutes apart. I would take the time out during each contraction to breath and move my body into comfortable positions. I figured that when I was through they would slow down again to 5 minutes.
Once finished exercising I told my husband that I was going to take a shower. While I was in there after 10 minutes I felt a pop from the birth canal and a gush of fluid came out. I called my husband and told him to start filling the pool because I was positive my water broke. He began to fill it and I stepped out of the shower, dried off and went to lie down on my side on our bed. But the moment I laid down a very painful contraction came and I felt as though I needed to poop badly. I yelled for my husband to help me up because it hurt too much laying down. He helped me up and I went to sit on the toilet.
I kept thinking that I needed to use the bathroom and the pressure/feeling continued to grow stronger. (I still didn’t realize I was in transition, still in denial). My husband asked if I wanted him to call our mothers yet and have them come. I quickly replied, “Yes!” I told him that they were really hurting now. And at one point I asked him to make it stop. :p So he stood by my side and held my hand. I asked him to call his dad to come pick up our son, as I wasn’t sure if him seeing me in pain would worry him.
I finally moved from the toilet to the birth pool during a break between contractions. I also realized finally that I was in transition, though it was crazy to believe, and I felt the urge to push. So, I did. At this point my husband went to the door as my father-in-law was there to pick up our son. Then my husband went to get some hot water from the stove to put in the pool as the water wasn’t quite warm. He came back just in time. After a few more urges with pushes our baby girl was born!
From the time I woke up to the time I had her was only a bit over 12 hours. And from the time my water broke to when she was born was 30 minutes. Yay!! It had been so much easier and a lot shorter than my first labor had been. Which I hadn’t expected but was a pleasant surprise. My beautiful baby girl was born at 4:25 p.m., weighing 5 lbs 12 oz, and measuring at 18 inches. She was so small, but she was perfect! She ate within 30 minutes of being born and pooped like 5 times in her first day, haha! :p (Probably because I had been snacking so much). My placenta had come out around 20 minutes after she was born and we cut the cord and tied it after.
One thing that was helpful after both labor/births was that beforehand my mother & mother-in-law had helped me prepare several meals to freeze for the postpartum period. After both births I felt lightheaded, a bit dizzy, and nauseous. After my 2nd labor my Mom warmed up some homemade lentil soup and some homemade chicken noodle soup for me to eat after she arrived. This was extremely helpful in helping me feel better and return to normal after having my baby girl. (I didn’t feel like eating after having my son, I just felt weak, but I’m sure taking something would have helped).
Both mothers didn’t make it until after she was born, and when they arrived they were introduced to the sweetheart. My father-in-law was called and brought back our little boy, when the precious guy saw his tiny sister the hugest smile came across his face and he immediately reached out to hold her! It was adorable. I was very thankful for this experience, it was a healing one. It also taught me a valuable lesson that every labor can be vastly different. We just need to put more trust in our Creator than we do in any man, woman, or even ourselves in these experiences. =D