I am one of those women who love to hear other women’s birth stories. I don’t really know why, I just do. When my oldest child turned 21 a couple of months ago, I wrote about his birth. A few days ago, my second child, my baby, turned 18. I decided I would also write about his birth. For some reason, it has been more difficult to do. Where has the time gone? It really does seem like yesterday that he was born. And it seems like yesterday that I was taking him to his first day of pre-school. And then kindergarten. Now here we are right in the middle of his senior year in high school. Yep, my empty nest is right around the corner and I’m not liking that at all.
Like my first pregnancy, the morning sickness was bad, maybe even worse, with vomiting just about every single day and nausea every day from morning til night for the first trimester. Since I had planned to work right up until the end (and did), I tried every morning sickness remedy known to man. None of it worked. I tried keeping crackers by the bed and nibbling on them before even raising my head off the pillow. I tried licorice (good thing I like licorice). I even tried acupressure. And coca cola syrup which was given to me by a pharmacist at no charge because he felt sorry for me. The fact that I worked in a veterinary clinic did not help matters, with all its smells and sometimes “unpleasant procedures” I had to perform. I remember literally having to run out of the exam room to vomit after expressing a dog’s anal sacs (a procedure which never bothered me in my non-pregnant state). Thankfully, I made it out of the room before hurling, and thankfully, it was a very understanding client. I loved being pregnant after the morning sickness was all over. I never felt better in my life.
My husband and I (as in our first pregnancy) did not want to find out the sex of our second baby. We had one ultrasound for some minor bleeding I experienced early in the pregnancy, and that was the only ultrasound we had. At that time, doing ultrasounds just for the sole purpose of sexing babies was just becoming the norm. I have to admit, I got really tired of people asking me if I was having a boy or a girl. And I got even more tired of the crazy looks they gave me when I would tell them we (hubby and I) didn’t know and didn’t plan on finding out the sex of our baby, that we wanted it to be a surprise. I always was asked, “Then how are you going to know how to decorate the nursery?” Is there a law that I am not aware of that says you HAVE to decorate a nursery in blue or pink? It just so happens that I was doing this nursery in a bear theme and the colors of the crib bedding were white, yellow and green. I felt all along during my pregnancy, that it was going to be another boy, and I was fine with that. After all, I had a ton of little boy clothes! If it was a girl, then o.k. we had some shopping to do. We had picked out a boy’s name but never really decided on a girl’s name.
I was a little more tired I believe during this second pregnancy because unlike the first, I now had a toddler to care for. Sleep didn’t come easy. When I walked, I had strong Braxton Hicks contractions the last two weeks of the pregnancy that made it literally hard to walk across the room. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes according to my GTT but it was always kept under control with diet and all my blood work came out normal from that point on. The diabetes specialist I was seeing even asked me once, “Are you sure you have gestational diabetes?”
I was scheduled for an induction 10 days before my due date. It was a social induction and not a medical induction. My OB advised inducement because he was going out-of-town and he told me he was sure I was going to go into labor before he got back and I would have to be delivered by another doctor. I have to admit, the thought of that wasn’t too appealing. I liked my doctor (a lot) and had a pretty darn good relationship with him. I was attached to him. I trusted him. I considered him a friend. I was his veterinarian. He had delivered my first son and was aware of the complications I had. I wanted HIM to deliver me and not some doctor I had never met. I had been dilated to a 3 for 2 weeks, and was big as a cow. I was plain and simply so ready to have this baby. With the gestational diabetes, they feared the baby would be pretty large if I went to my due date and they certainly didn’t want me going over. So I was fine with the inducement.
My husband and I left the house around 5 in the morning to drop our three-year old off at my in-law’s house as we had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. It was storming really hard with torrential downpours. I had always heard labor was more intensive with an induction with Pitocin so I was a little nervous. I planned to get an epidural with this birth and didn’t even consider a natural birth (read the post 21 Years Ago to better understand why). I reviewed all my Lamaze notes and had done quite a bit of reading. I remember after I got changed and into a gown I heard a woman screaming down the hall. Over and over I heard this poor woman scream. When the nurse did come in, I said, “It sounds like someone needs an epidural!” The nurse replied that she was only dilated to a 2 and proceeded to talk about how everyone experiences labor differently.
My doctor came in to break my water around 8 am (this was not an easy feat as well as I remember). The Pitocin was started about an hour later. Around noon, they came in to start my epidural. I had the same anesthesiologist that I had with my first birth. I was more nervous about getting the epidural than I was about anything else as it was not a pleasant experience the first time around. I had heard about so many women who said they did not feel a thing with the placement of their epidural catheter but that wasn’t the case with me. Both times I felt painful electrical shocks up my spine which made it hard for me to stay still. This time, to make things even worse, I had to have the catheter removed and replaced a second time. Unlike my first epidural, which numbed me completely, I still had some pain. After the epidural, everyone left the birthing room and my husband and I decided we would try to get some sleep. I’m not sure how long I slept, but I woke up feeling some powerful contractions. Labor was progressing rapidly. I remember feeling (even with the epidural) that I really needed to push. The nurse checked me and said the baby was ready to pop out and she was off to call my doctor.
Both my mother and mother-in-law were in the birthing room this time to witness the birth of their grandchild. My oldest sister was again the videographer and photographer. This time I thought to ask for a mirror so I could actually see the birth (something I forgot to do with my first birth). It only took a couple of pushes and the head was out. When the head crowned, I remember my doctor saying the baby didn’t have much hair. I jokingly asked if it was a boy’s head or a girl’s head, and he said, “I think it is going to be a pretty boy.” He delivered the body and then said, “IT’S A BOY!” I was very happy and somewhat giddy I guess and I’m almost embarrassed to tell you what came out of my mouth, but I remember saying, “ANOTHER PENIS?!” and then I mumbled something about being surrounded by them or something along those lines. They laid the baby on my chest and hubby cut the cord. The doctor guessed baby’s weight at around 8 lbs. 5 oz., the nurse guessed 8 lbs. 2 oz. Hubby took baby boy to nursery for weighing and other stats and he was actually 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 21 inches long. Ten days later, at his intended due date, he was well over 9 lbs. My pediatrician came in later and told me she had examined baby boy and all was fine but she mentioned a tongue tie but said it wasn’t really anything to be concerned about. I asked about having the frenulum clipped since she mentioned that tongue-tied babies can be delayed talkers and my mother had told me I was tongue-tied and had to have my frenulum clipped at birth, but she said they no longer did that.
The first time they brought my newborn son to me, I unwrapped him and checked his little body out, counting fingers and toes and checking for birthmarks. I remember holding his little foot in my hand and marveling at his skinny little heels and long feet- the feet that had kicked me hard for so many months. We were sure this baby was going to be a soccer player. One night I remember a kick so hard when I was walking across the bedroom floor that it almost knocked me to the floor. Eighteen years later, we don’t have a soccer player, but we do have a black belt in karate! I think he was practicing those karate kicks in my belly. Ouch. I remember loving it in the hospital when it was just me and my newborn. I couldn’t have been happier and I wanted to cherish that special time with him.
When it was time for the first feeding, I have to admit, I thought the breast-feeding was going to be a breeze since I had nursed baby #1 for about 13 months. But for the life of me, I could not get this baby to latch on. Thankfully, there was an excellent lactation consultant who worked with us. When she was in the room, she could get baby to latch, but when she wasn’t there, I would get exhausted, sometimes working for 30 minutes at a time and still unsuccessful in getting a successful “latch”. She explained that tongue-tied babies often have difficulty in latching. I asked the lactation consultant if I could take her home with us to live, but for some reason she seemed less than thrilled.
The first night I ran a fever and got the worse sore throat. Son #1 was sick also. The OB on call examined me and decided to put me on Erythromycin and Tylenol since my temp went up to 103. I dreaded the pain that I was sure was going to hit me that night as it did with baby #1, but it never came.
Giving birth the second time around was definitely much easier. I guess son #1 paved the way! I didn’t experience the postpartum blues at all like I had the first time around nor did I experience the postpartum pain. My mother did not stay with us this time around like she did with baby #1. My husband and I were on our own. And I think we did just fine.