I've heard from 'them' that each pregnancy and birth is different. However, being my stubborn self, I didn't believe them as most things I have found in parenting are different for each individual. When I went to 40 weeks without any sign of labor, I was starting to think that things would go the same route as they did with Levi- induction.
I don't have any kind of a problem with medically-necessary inductions. I praise modern medicine for saving mothers and babies, when in the past going overdue would have adverse outcomes. I decided to schedule an induction date for 10 days past due- if my body wasn't going to go into labor, then I would get the little one out by an means necessary. I still held out hope that I just gestate my humans a bit longer but really had to defend my decisions to family members and co-workers. Why did I think I should wait? Because I have all the cool components of being a woman- and women make babies, and birth them. It's science.
Oh, and while we're at it, let me tell you about how to induce labor...there is no correlation between twirling on your tippy toes, walking hills, spicy food, hanging upside down, dancing on a full moon, or anything else. How do I know? I tried several experiments and nothing worked to get the baby out until it was actually time. All those old wives were drunk.
I was in good spirits for the most part, but at 40 weeks and 5 days, I was finally agitated. The constant texts, check-ins, reminders, questions, and all the other interactions that truly came out of concern were like nails on a chalkboard to a very pregnant, grumpy, painful me. This pregnancy, just three years later than my first was much harder on me than the last one. I had been under chiropractic care for extreme hip and pelvic pain from 30 weeks on and just felt more tired. I remember one incident when Levi went running from our private street and I had to chase him at about 36 weeks, resulting in sitting on ice packs for the rest of the evening, because ouch. Also, first pregnancies are made of magic and rainbows and unicorns. You can rest when you want to, sleep when you need to, and you have no worldly idea of what is to come.
Anyways, that day I was pretty much done. I asked Mike to take Levi to the two family events that I was bowing out of that day and I stayed home, ate Popsicles, and worked on my business expenses. I even joked with my boss that now that my expenses were done, I could go into labor. That night I went to bed like I always did, with 12 pillows for my aching skeleton and belly and hopes of falling asleep long enough to catch a REM cycle before my bladder inevitably woke me up.
At 2:37 am, I was woken by a pain in my stomach, also known as a contraction. I thought nothing of it and went back to sleep. Exactly one hour later, I was hit with another slow cramp and went to the bathroom to do bathroom stuff, because that's just what it felt like. I decided that I would stay up and see if anything happened. I stayed in bed and over the next half hour the contractions were coming about 8-9 minutes apart. Each time one hit, I would get into child's pose and wait it out while breathing deeply like I had learned in my prenatal class and basically all the years of yoga that I took. Once the contraction was over, I would rest and close my eyes. From then on, I went downstairs and wanted to see if things picked up if I moved around a bit. And yes they did. They went to 4 minute and 5 minute apart each time I got around to walk. Honestly, it scared the crap out of me because while I was ready physically, I couldn't believe it mentally.
I was now about an hour into this game at 3:50 am and decided that if it was going to be a long day, I needed to rest. I stayed on the couch and basically slept as much as I could, and when I did this, my contractions slowed down to 10 minutes apart. At one point, I heard Levi crying and I went to his room and stayed in his bed with him, getting hit with the waves closer to 15 minutes apart and just resting and sleeping in between them until about 7:40 when I heard Mike wake up for the day. I calmly told him that something might be happening and that he should probably take Levi to my mom's daycare for the day. I also sent my boss a text message telling her that we were having some excitement and that I likely wouldn't be coming to work that day.
Since I got up again, contractions sped up to about 4 minutes apart once again and I decided I should take a shower, put some makeup on, and perhaps throw some toiletries into the bag I started packing 3 weeks ago. I also ate two plain waffles for energy. This is also the part I regret- I should have had like 10 waffles, a cupcake, and maybe a shot. When Mike came home from dropping off Levi, I decided to call my OB- actually, he made me call them. They told me to go ahead and come in when I was ready, so I did what anyone else would do- I labored while finishing the movie we started watching the night before (Mud- it's a good one if you are looking for a movie rec). We finally got in the car at a little before 11:00 and drove the 2 minutes it took to get to the hospital.
I walked out of the car and promptly had a contraction while we waited to get signed in at the security desk. The guard asked if I was OK and I nodded and smiled at him. They reminded us where to go and we went to the labor wing. I was greeted but the calmest, sweetest nurse who started checking me into my suite. I was a bit surprised that they were planning on keeping me without doing a full check, but since I was already almost a week late, I earned a one way ticket to labor and delivery. I signed a crap ton of paperwork and laid down for torture while I was monitored. This whole time, on a scale of one to someone-is-ripping-off-my-limbs, I was at maybe a 6 or 7, partially because I was still getting breaks between contractions and forcing myself to completely relax. This was nothing like the hell of my induction contractions brought on by Pitocin. I was also fine if I was moving or in child's pose, so I did not enjoy being monitored in the bed. After 20 minutes, she finally checked me and I was at 6 cm. I could not believe it, but was grateful that I made it this far, free of pain relief and all on my own without any interventions.
The plan now was to labor with a wireless monitor (there is another name for this, but I forgot some of my words) so that I could move around. Since it was around 11:20 am and we were staying, we let our parents know and the nurse anticipated it would be a few more hours, maybe around 5:00 or so. I walked around the room, listened to music (hip hop and then some calmer yoga music because I thought the hip hop swears were somewhat unsavory for welcoming a child into the world), and I zoned out. We had considered hiring a doula, even interviewed two lovely young ladies, but in the end I knew myself and I don't like listening to people. Mike was there of course, but I preferred to be on my own and zone out, rather than anything else.
During this whole time, by OB was still not there- I had the same on-call doctor as last time with Levi. She had some kind of a lunch meeting and was running late. After a couple of hours, I was really in pain. My contractions were coming quicker and I felt the most intense pain in my legs and hips and I was completely over it. I couldn't wait for her to get there because I was ready to ask for an epidural, or vodka shot- whichever was available sooner. I still didn't have any IV fluids and knew that I would need at least a half hour before I could get anything. I didn't really voice any of this and felt a little silly since my nurse kept saying how calmly and peacefully I was handling labor.
The doctor finally came in at about 1:30, and this is where things get a little fuzzy. They had me get back into the bed to be monitored so I had to take a break from pacing, sitting in a rocking chair, hanging out in the bathroom (so nobody would bother me), and folding myself over the bed and chair. I was D.O.N.E. done.
She checked me and I was ready to go- complete and ready to push. I was shocked. And I still didn't have an epidural or a vodka shot. She broke my water and there was a little bit of meconium in it- this means that the baby had pooped in utero- it is usually nothing, but they called in the NICU team to be present for the birth so that the baby could be checked just in case.
The doctor specifically asked me if I needed to push and I told her that I would like to labor down for a few minutes. In my last rodeo, I pushed on and off for four hours and I was not going to do that. So she left the room to complete some paperwork from her last birth. As soon as she left, or a minute later, I felt my body pushing. This is kind of where I blacked out. I told the nurse that I needed to push NOW and she started calling the doctor back into the room. I'm usually a delicate flower and calm and collected, but with a giant baby emerging from my body, I was no longer quiet.
I don't know how long it took for her to get there- Mike told me it took a couple of minutes, but I could not control my body. The baby was coming now. The doctor finally ran in and started scrambling for her gloves. She got one on and I think got the second one on just as the baby came out on the second push. They told me to look down and I politely declined, but she was here! At some point, the NICU doctor yelled "Holy hell that was fast- get this girl a good push present!"
They checked Eva out quickly and made sure that she was OK- luckily she was fine and I got her for skin to skin just a few minutes later after the cleared her airways. She was perfect and I got to snuggle her while they worked on me. Ironically, I had to have fluids and two bags of Pitocin after labor to help my body stop bleeding, but I felt so much better this time. I got to nurse the baby and bond before family started coming in and this is just how we did it with Levi.
Eva is now 2 months old and we are all adjusting. She is such a sweet baby and the part of our family I never knew was missing. If I ever get to it, I'll do some more posts on pregnancy and some family updates but for now we are all bonding and getting used to each other. A belated (second baby) welcome to the world, Eva!