Wow, Sarah, your first birth was interesting! So glad to hear that things got progressively better with each babe... and praying for a nice Occiput Anterior presentation with flexed head and no nuchal arms this time!!!! :)
AFM-- My first birth was pretty much the opposite of what I wanted and envisioned. I was a brand new nurse and had just finished an extended preceptorship on a busy L&D unit. I had seen about 100 births in person and thought I was prepared. I knew I wanted a natural birth. I had read a ton of research articles and went to natural birth classes. My plan was to stay at home, labor as long as I could, and just head to the hospital to push him out!
Well.. at 40 weeks and 4 days, I was sent to fetal testing for a BPP and NST. Everything looked great, but they couldn't get a good reading of my amniotic fluid level. My AFI was 4, and normal is I think 6-18, right? So I was labeled as high risk with oligohydramnios. Now, I know that isolated oligo in a healthy term pregnancy is NOT a good reason to induce. They wanted an immediate induction... I DID NOT WANT THIS. This was in 2008, before I had a smart phone so I couldn't google anything! I begged them to let me go home and take a shower, get my hospital bag, and do some research before being induced, but they said "No, we are escorting you to L&D now for immediate induction. If anything happens to your baby, you'll never forgive yourself." I asked if I could sign out against medical advice (I wasn't even admitted yet, so I really didn't even need to "sign out" but I didn't know this) and I was told "If you sign out AMA, your insurance won't cover the birth".
I felt so manipulated. They hit me in two places-- finances (which were TIGHT back then) and baby's safety. I felt my hands were tied. I was so upset to feel that all control over my birth was stripped away before labor had even started!
So I was given cervidil (I had a very unfavorable cervix-- closed thick and high) and then pit the next morning. Surprisingly, I was making good progress. In 4 hours, I was 4 cm and my water broke. At this point, things got A LOT more intense and I practically begged for an epidural (not something I was planning on). I felt like I had no choice-- I literally couldn't breathe during contractions they were so intense. I got an epidural (which is a story in itself-- it took 45 minutes because the first try caused heart pounding, ringing in my ears, and a metal taste in my mouth so they had to redo it. I still have back pain 4.5 years later from where the epidural catheter was.)
They checked me an hour after the epidural was placed... I was FULLY dilated!!!! That pit is strong stuff... I feel like it literally ripped my cervix open. It took 6 hours on pit for a first time mom with unfavorable cervix to fully dilate (it took 12 hours in my natural labor. Big difference in contraction intensity!).
I couldn't feel anything below the waist, so I asked if we could let the baby passively descend for a bit before I tried pushing. Change of shift at 7pm, and a new nurse came in as a drill sargeant and made me start pushing. I asked if I could push on my side and she said "no, we're doing things my way." Again... feeling control over my body strip away. I pushed flat on my back while pulling on a bedsheet up and over a birth bar for 3 hours. I was exhausted, had horrible heartburn, and was losing hope. My baby had turned from OA to OP after I got the epidural. This is why he was getting stuck.
After 3 hours, it was decided to use a vacuum... the attending examined me (my labor was managed by a midwife to this point) and said the baby was OP and he tried manually rotating his head... then fresh meconium and decels. It was decided: emergency cesarean.
The c-sec itself was awful in large part due to a very inconsiderate and rude anesthesiologist (won't get into details, but it was a horrible experience). I suffered from PPD after this birth and had a hard time with bonding. Thank God for successful breastfeeding, that is what helped me bond with my beautiful son! I had nightmares about the c-sec for months.
So... my second baby, I knew I wanted to VBAC. I met with an OB at my group at 28 weeks pregnant and told her my plans to VBAC. She pretty much said "no way" and was really nasty about it. I left the office with no intention of ever coming back and switched to a midwife group.
I used Hypnobabies to prepare for a natural birth.
The day before my DD was born, a sonogram estimated she was 10 lb 5 oz and everyone freaked out. I was scheduled for a repeat c/s for that Monday. I cried and cried and prayed and prayed to go into labor ( I was 7 days "overdue" at this point).
In other news, at 39 weeks pregnant, our house had been burglarized in the middle of the night when we were home sleeping. Because pregnant women don't sleep well (haha) I woke up and heard noises in the living room and went to investigate. I saw a man crouched in the corner of our room with our laptop computer and digital camera. All rationality left my brain as I yelled at him "What are you doing in my house???!" and screaming for my husband to wake up. The burglar pushed me out of the way (I was standing in front of the open window he used to get in) and I jumped forward and grabbed onto his T-Shirt to keep him from escaping. My thought was that DH would wake up soon and help me apprehend the guy and save our stuff. Well... my DH is a heavy sleeper, haha! I was screaming my head off while struggling with the guy and eventually his T-shirt ripped in my hands and he got away. Finally... DH was awake. To make a long story short, we called 911 and miraculously, the police caught the guy a few days later. We got our stuff back, but I was SUPER shaken up about the whole thing and declared that we were moving as soon as possible out of the city and into a suburb. We started looking at houses online and looked at three houses that week and signed offer papers the morning I went into labor!
Saturday afternoon... began contracting. Didn't know if it was "it" or not, because I had been having contractions all week long, sometimes for hours at a time. But.. by 9pm, I was sure this was "it!" I labored at home using hypnobabies and was quite comfortable, but got very very tired. I labored for 2 hours in the shower and the warm water on my low back was heavenly. When I got out of the shower, I felt my baby move from OP to OA and down into my pelvis. AMAZING! By 3am, I told DH we had to head to the hospital. I was so tired and was desperate to see how much longer I'd be in labor. It had only been about 12 hours, too... so I am amazed with all you ladies who have longer labors!
I got to the hospital and was super quiet. The nurse was so surprised that I had contractions so close together (they were 2 min apart, a minute long) because I was so calm. The midwife checked me at 4am and I was 9.5 cm! They were amazed: "You have the demeanor of a mom at 2cm. I thought you were 5cm at the most, but 9.5-- good job!"
I was thrilled. 45 minutes of super amazing pushing (it is WAY more satisfying to push when you can feel everything! Way more effective than epidural pushing) and then the infamous ring of fire. This was the only part of labor where I got really noisy and yelled: "this hurts!" Otherwise, I have to say Hypnobabies was AMAZING at helping me stay comfortable and relaxed.
My baby girl was born at 5:48 AM... 9 lb 7.8 oz with a 14.5" head and 15" belly! Only a tiny first degree tear. I credit my patient midwife and hypnobabies for the slow, controlled pushing. My natural VBAC was the most satisfying experience of my life. I posted this before, but I'll post again:
We got a call from our realtor that the house we bid on was ours only 4 hours after my DD was born! New house, new baby in 4 hours! WOO! I was subpoenaed (sp?) to testify in court against the burglar when my DD was only 4 days old! That was horrendous. They wouldn't let me bring her into the courtroom with me. Yuck. (city court was not the place I imagined for my baby's first outing!) The only downside to an otherwise blissful time in my life!
The next year... I gave birth to my miscarried baby at 12 weeks at home (they discharged me from the ER and didn't really tell me what to expect). it was really an intense birth-- I found the contractions more intense than during my VBAC which was really surprising to me. and then after he was born, I hemorrhaged, losing 2.5 liters of blood (about half my blood volume) and was rushed back to the ER in hypovolemic shock for emergency transfusions and surgery and a host of other nasty procedures. It was a very traumatic experience with lots of complications during recovery. I then miscarried again at 6 weeks 4 months later. I fell into a deep grieving depression and it took a long time to heal.
I am so excited to birth my rainbow baby. We are planning a peaceful home waterbirth with a loving midwife. I am grateful to God for his faithfulness in first of all allowing me to survive the hemorrhage and then to also have the privilege of carrying another baby.
One thing I learned through all of my experiences is that retaining control over my care is REALLY important. I need to be an active participant in the decisions made about my body and my babies. I have learned so much in the past few years-- how to advocate for myself and make informed decisions. My experiences-- good and bad, have helped shape my expectations and perspectives and have really made me a more compassionate friend and nurse.
much love to all of you! Thanks for letting me share a bit more personally.~~ Sorry for such a long post!