From the get go I knew I wanted this birth to be different. My first go around I labored for ten hours in a hospital bed surrounded by nurses and doctors I'd never even met. I was only 18, and wasn't treated with a great deal of respect. At one point my epidural fell out of my back and I was told point blank to suck it up, and wasn't believed about the severity of the pain. There was meconium stained fluid, and my daughter was whisked away before I even got to see her, although she was perfectly fine. This time around I sought out the care of an awesome pair of midwives who I trusted entirely.
My son and I had a long road together from the get go. I lost a portion of mucous plug at just 27 weeks. At 28 weeks we found I was already 50% effaced, and by 29 weeks I was in the hospital with contractions receiving steroid shots. We would go on to be admitted three times with very convincing false premature labor before I was eventually diagnosed with irritable uterus and put on bed rest for a long nine weeks, made even longer by being unable to care for my three year old daughter. We also found kidney dilation in the baby, which thankfully resolved, and the day before my due date an arrhythmia was discovered in the baby that had been missed during all our previous monitoring.
For all the fuss and worry about premature labor, I watched my due date come and go. Then we watched the 41st week come and go as well. It was time to talk induction. I was measuring very large, which was concerning with my frame (5'8" and 110 lbs pre-pregnancy) and my previous child weighing an average 7 lbs 3 oz. My constant contractions had become painful, and at times were coming every 3 minutes. I spent 10 days in off and on prodromal labor, constantly vomiting and unable to sleep. I was done. At 41+2 weeks my induction date finally came.
We got to the hospital and met with the midwife at 9 am April 15th. We sat around and chatted until finally at 1:30 pm the OB on duty finally gave her okay to start pitocin. I was warned this could take days. Between 1:30 and 2:30 my contractions slowly reved up to true labor. I was coping well, and we all laughed between contractions. At some point I was checked and was so happy to hear I was starting off at 5 cm, stretched easily to 7 cm, 25% effaced and -1 station. From 2:30 to 3:30 the contractions were very painful, but I was able to cope well just looking out the window at our first sunny day after the winter. I finally requested an epidural. When my midwife came back from tracking down the anaestesiologist I said " do you know when he'll be here?" just in time to see him following her into the room. I was so happy to see him! The midwife held me while I had to stay hunched and still, and let me yell into her arm. The epidural kicked in very quickly. I took some time between 3:30 and 4 to just relax and catch my breath. Finally I felt great, and my partner lay down to take a nap. He wasn't asleep more than 10 minutes when I felt the urge to push. They checked me and found nothing more than a rim of cervix. I woke my partner and told him I was fully dilated. He sat straight up and said "I'm so sorry! How long have I been asleep?", no one could believe how fast it had all gone.
It felt good to push through the contractions, so off I went. Suddenly everything was very different. It was a very light epidural, I was able to move my legs, feel my skin, and felt all pressure and touch. It quickly became incredibly painful. I went through every birth stereotype in the book. The yelling, screaming, swearing, crying, "I can't do this". My amazing midwife whispered encouragement in my ear and I somehow kept at it. I heard the midwife ask my partner if he wanted to catch his son. I didn't understand why the second stage was so incredibly difficult until later.
At 5:00 pm exactly Jack came into the world. Once his head was delivered I was so eager to get him out I delivered the rest of him between contractions. My partner caught him and lifted him to my chest. He didn't cry instantly, but I wasn't worried at all. His eyes were open and he was watching me looking so calm. I laughed when I realized his first act in life was to pee all over his mom. I rubbed his back and spoke to him, and sure enough he cried. I cried too. It was amazing after the shock of watching my daughter being whisked away immediately after her birth. I checked to make sure it was in fact a boy. He nursed well pretty much immediately. Finally it was time to weigh him, 9 lbs 6 oz! That explained part of the difficult second stage. Being told he was a compound presentation solved the other half of the mystery. Still, the second degree tear was actually pretty bearable in the healing stage. I felt amazing the first night and spent most of it waltzing around with my new son.
The rest of our stay wasn't all sunshine and roses. His size and presentation did some damage to my bladder. My baby ended up spending 16 days in NICU, longest 16 days of my life, due to a combination of an undetected heart defect and a reaction to a medication I had been prescribed during the pregnancy. However he is now doing perfectly and I am so proud of him for getting through all he has. Now at 12 weeks he's the type of baby that I thought was just a myth to make moms feel inferior. He's been sleeping through the night since 6 weeks, sometimes a whopping 12hours at a time (with a nursing break or two in there). he started smiling at 5 weeks and hasn't stopped for a moment since. He's honestly less work than my three year old, just a wonderfully calm baby. Although between domperidone, fenugreek and blessed thistle I'm only able to supply half his diet through nursing, he's never had any issues with nipple confusion or nursing strikes. I'm in love, in case that didn't show in my story here
I know this is a total tl;dr, and thank you to anyone that bothered to read. I just wanted to get his story written and out there while the details are still fresh in my mind. It was a wonderful birth, and despite wanting to avoid induction I am so so thankful for those three and a half hours working at meeting my little guy.