February 2, 2012 by Carin
Back in December I wrote about the birth of my first child, Grace and the hard time I had afterwards. After everything I went through I was having a hard time convincing myself that a second child was in our future. I was scared that a second child would only resurface everything I had felt with Grace. Fast forward about 15 months after Grace was born and I realized I was pregnant. SURPRISE!! Not totally unplanned, but definitely sooner then I expected or planned on. The feelings I felt those first few weeks are a good post for a confession Tuesday. Today I want to show all you moms out there, that after having a really difficult first birth or post partum doesn’t mean that the second will be the same, mine was quite the opposite.
This story is going to start on Wednesday of my 39th week of pregnancy. I had my weekly visit and while being measured it was discovered that I had not grown from the previous week. Red Flag! My midwife insisted that I have an ultrasound to rule out any issues with the baby and that I was not loosing amniotic fluid. Also, I was still dilated to 1cm as I had been the previous 2 weeks. Nothing was progressing and I was getting frustrated with my body. This time around I had started to dilate at 37 weeks, whereas with Grace, I never dilated on my own. The midwives for several weeks were repeatedly telling my to prepare myself for going past my due date. Little did they know! So, back to that ultrasound, I was scheduled to go in the next morning. Gina was kind enough to babysit Grace at our house so Finn and Grace could spend the morning playing. I went to my ultrasound and everything was just fine, no surprises. About 10 min after arriving home, Gina and I were sitting out on the deck while the kids played in the back yard, I had my first subtle contraction. I thought nothing of the fact that it felt different then anything I ever felt. As we sat there talking, I kept having odd pains, but nothing that caused me to think twice. Eventually, Gina and I decided to take the kids to McDonalds down the road from us…a half mile walk. Now picture this, two kids in a double jogging stroller to pregnant mamas, one 39 weeks and one 34 weeks (who had her own pregnancy issues) walking to get lunch. I am sure we were quite the site. As we sat in McDonalds with the kids who were very excited to be there, I was still having contractions and they were getting a little stronger and closer together, but I was still in denial. On the walk home, still in denial, per Gina’s urging I stopped a few times to breath through contractions. It was time for Gina and Finn to leave and I was convinced that I would be just fine. I had to put Grace down for a nap and then I would drink some water and take a nap myself and those pesky contractions would just go away so I could get on with my day and not have the baby until 41 weeks…ya know, go past my due date like the midwives liked to tell me at all my appointments. Well, the contractions did not stop and I started to time them, 5-9 minutes apart and 30 seconds to 1 minute long. Okay, things were getting serious. Grace was napping and I was essentially alone. I called my husband and told him I had been having contractions since 10 am that morning, but I was telling him “just in case”. Let’s just say, I called him 30 minutes later and told him to come home and called my sister to come over to help with Grace. Brian got home, we called the midwives and we were told that I could labor at home until I felt I couldn’t any longer. Time rolled by and around 3:30-4pm and I couldn’t do it any longer. We made the mad dash to the hospital 3 miles away, not really. We got there and I was checked over to make sure I was truly in labor. A few contractions later and they didn’t even have to check, they could tell from my breathing and the lack of chatter that I indeed was in labor. Luckily I was dilated to 5cm…yeah me! I was immediately hooked up to antibiotics due to being a Strep B carrier. Due to the Strep B, I had to be hooked up to antibiotics for 4 hours before I could deliver. Thus I also requested an epidural. I was moved to the birthing room and that hour or so without the epidural was tough, but this time I knew where all this was going, knew that I had made great strides on my own. Once I got the epidural, we hung out and I progressed quickly. By 7:30 or so I was at a 10cm, but due to the 4 hour time constraint for the antibiotics, I could not push for about another hour to an hour and a half. So we waited and we chatted. I thought about Grace, this yet unknown baby boy or girl that we were anxiously waiting to meet and about how surreal the second time around was. I was so happy with what my body was doing this time, it was performing the way it was intended, it was delivering a baby on its own terms. I was on cloud nine and so happy that I was in charge this time, my terms. Around 9pm, a nurse came and asked if I wanted to do some practice pushes. Practice pushes, what were those? The lights were not fully on and it was peaceful. I gave a few pushes because this time around I could actually feel the contractions even with the epidural. The midwife came in and she calmly talked me through everything. Including us, there were 6 people in the room; midwife, observer, nurse and baby nurse. There was no rush, just push and relax. We chatted in-between contractions and had fun. The newborn baby nurse came and asked if we wanted more lights on because the room was so dim, Zen like. We were having a wonderful experience. Thirty minutes after my first practice push I pushed out our new baby. And it was awesome. I subtly felt him leave my body which was so emotional for me. I immediately started crying because I did it. I gave birth so easily this time and I felt like a million bucks. My body was not ravaged and I was completely ready to have a baby this time, let alone, my body was ready. Everything about the birth of Myles was perfect and so much better emotionally. I embraced everything about being a mom this time and had no fears, doubts or insecurities. I instantly loved him and came to realized that everything I had hoped to feel with Grace was possible and I indeed did feel it.
Family came to visit late that night and Grace met her brother for the first time the next morning. I missed her and was so worried about how she would react to not being number 1 anymore and she embraced being a big sister better then I ever imagined. She loved her little brother and still loves telling everyone his name and that she is a big sister.
I left the hospital feeing great. I wasn’t swollen, wasn’t too sore and was so in love with Myles. Besides being tired, I was great and all the feelings I was worried about having again were never an issue, only happiness filled our home. The arrival of Myles completed our family, and we could not have been happier.
If you had a difficult first birth and you are worried about the second, I would say “go for it”. It was a great experience for me and one I will never forget. The doubts I had about having another baby were not without reason, but proved to be just worry.