Saturday at 5PM, I stood up from the couch, and suddenly water was pooling around my feet. Eric was right there, and asked why there was water on the floor. I told him his baby brother was in water, so now that the water was coming out, his baby brother would be coming out soon as well. He then asked "Why is the baby in water?" in typical 3-year-old fashion
I called the hospital to see what they wanted me to do - they told me to go ahead and eat and shower, then head in. We explained to Eric that the time had finally come, and that his grandmother would take care of him while I was having the baby at the hospital. He wasn't phased in the least, he accepted this completely and gave us hugs and kisses goodbye, I was very surprised but so proud of him (this was the first time we had ever left him with a babysitter, but we had talked about it with him for months).
We got to the hospital at 6:30PM, I wasn't having any contractions. They verified that my water had indeed broken, so I would have to stay. I was at 4cm and 80% effaced. They said they would wait 18 hours before inducing contraction with drugs, so I should walk a lot to try and get things going. I did some walking with rests in between so as not to get too tired, but overall I only got about 3 hours of sleep - I REALLY wanted labour to start naturally. My plan had been to labour without drugs using hypnobirthing techniques until the pushing stage at least (I was still undecided on getting a pendudal block again, as I had with Eric) and I really did not want to get an epidural, but worried that I would find it necessary with induced contractions. The night and next morning were very frustrating, as I would get the occasional mild contraction, or three in a row, then nothing for an hour. This baby was still refusing to come out!
Four more times in those 18 hours, when I stood up, water gushed to the floor. I couldn't believe how much had been in there. I joked to DH that baby must be getting very upset at whoever was draining his pool : By the next morning my belly was smaller and oddly jiggly, very weird.
At 11AM on Sunday, they started the IV drip and hooked me to the monitors. Monitoring was necessary with the drugs because they can put lots of stress on the baby. They started a low dose, 3ml/hour, then increased it every 30-60 minutes. Contractions were still slow to pick up, they weren't very strong until maybe 2PM when it got to 15ml/hour, when they finally became effective. I was 6cm dilated, 90% effaced then. We had tried setting me up to labour on the ball, but baby was so low my leg kept displacing the monitor, so I had to go back in the bed. All along though, my contractions were always strongest when sitting slightly reclined in the bed, and I found it much easier to relax my muscles and breath through the contractions with the it supporting me fully, so I was fine with this.
By about 2:30 I was feeling very uncertain about going drug free. I was managing to remained controlled throughout the contractions still (body relaxed, visualizations, breathing through them), but I was hanging on by a thread. I was going over what to do with DH - I really was equally scared of getting the epi as I was of the pain getting worse. The drugs to induce contractions was on intervention already, I didn't want to add another on top of it. I'm also absolutely terrified of the idea of not being able to feel what is happening to half of my body. I kept stalling, saying "I'll see how this next contraction goes", so I guess deep down I had made my decision.
By 3PM I had to pee again (I had been purposely going a lot, since my bladder got very full and was stopping baby's progress when I laboured with Eric), so I asked the nurse if I could get up. She checked and I was at 7cm, so she said to go very quickly and get back in bed.
The contractions were one on top of another now, so I moved fast in between so I could get to the toilet. When I sat down OMG I got the mother of all contractions, there was no control there, I just breathed fast and hard to survive. I felt like my body was almost being shocked. For a second I had an inkling of wanting to push... I got up and headed back to the bed, but had to lean against it to get through another earthquake of a contraction. Again, it seemed I had an inkling to push. I had never felt the urge to push when I had Eric, so I had no experience with that sensation.
I got back in bed, and one or two contractions later I said "OMG I need to push!" The nurse checked me again - I had gone from 7 to 10 cms thanks to that trip to the bathroom. The nurse told me to take a deep breath and breath it out in short bursts. Apparently they paged the OB at that point. As I breathed out, my body was taking over and my breaths were coming out along with super deep vocalizations I couldn't control ("Hoo hoo huh huhhhhh HUHHHH HAA HAAAAAAA..........". The nurse rolled me to my side, according to DH to slow things down (I was pretty much senseless at that point). All I could feel was burning down low and couldn't believe that it could be baby yet.
Apparently they paged the OB twice, then tried paging his backup, before they said they couldn't wait anymore. They got me on my back and stirruped up. DH said the OB strolled in, peeked around the curtain, his eyes went wide and he ran off to get scrubs : DH asked him if it was too late to get the block, and it was. That scared the crap out of me - everything was so intense already, I couldn't imagine how I would handle the "ring of fire" too, but then I had another urge that distracted me from my fear, I couldn't focus on anything but getting through it.
Somewhere from the blurry sea of faces above me it I finally heard someone telling me to push. Deep breath and WOAH, talk about primal! My body had completely taken over, so long as I remembered to suck air in when needed. I felt like I was alone at the bottom of a deep, dark well. Far above me were some light and faces, vagues voices. DH would repeat whatever they told me, I could hear him because he was by my ear. When I pushed, they felt so strong, and I couldn't NOT push, the urge was so powerful, but I worried about how I would manage to push so hard for a long time (I pushed nearly 3 hours with Eric, but never so strongly). After maybe 4-5 big pushes, I had the impression that baby's head must be coming out (I was picturing a burning circle in my mind), with the doctor's fingers on either side of it stretching the tissues, but kept thinking "No that can't be" and just kept pushing. That burning went away, and I pushed once more before hearing "OK, I've got the shoulder", then whooosh!
I was lying there with my eyes closed, and the OB said "Look here!" I opened my eyes and saw a baby!
I could NOT believe how quickly he shot out. Going from 7cm at 3PM to giving birth at 3:25PM was the most primal, scary, intense, incredible, exhilerating experience of my life. It was like living through my own personal hurricane. I laughed hysterically as they put him on my belly, repeating over and over "I can't believe it! I can't believe it!" They left him on me as I delivered the placenta and the doctor checked for tears (none this time either, woo hoo!), then about 20 minutes later the nurse helped me get him latched on. They only weighed him about an hour after birth. They told me he was 7lbs 3oz, which shocked me as I expected him to be bigger than Eric was (8lbs 4.5oz). Turns out the scale was faulty >. He was actually 8lbs 5oz. He was 20.5 inches long, and his head was 36.5cm around.
Colin Michael, though quite reluctant to make his appearance until the very end, is finally here! He had some spitting up issues the first night, so the nurse used a tube to aspirate secretions (there were a lot in there), and he's been so much more comfortable since. He was alert and latched well from the beginning, and my milk came in just over 48 hours after birth. He's such a sleepy baby, going for 3 and 4 hour stretches his first two nights, wow. He's getting more alert now, but he's such a calm, quiet baby so far. Eric absolutely adores him, giving him kisses and caresses all the time. When Eric came to the hospital, he barely looked at me, going straight to meet his baby brother :
Recovery is going so much faster this time. The long drawn out pushing stage with Eric left me very swollen and sore. This time I'm almost back to normal already - I find it hard to believe I actually gave birth 2.5 days ago, it's surreal. I'm so, so thankful that we both came through it so well. We're so, so in love with our new little man :