*Warning, graphic imagery.
We welcomed baby Charles Joseph into the world on December 8, 2017. He was born 9 pounds 7 ounces, 22 inches long. A full pound heavier than his brother. By comparison this pregnancy was very different from my first. I was in labor for weeks, and had multiple false alarms/trips to L&D. In addition, to the on again off again labor, I also gained 17 more pounds with this pregnancy.
On 12/7, I went into my OBGYN, 39 weeks pregnant, miserable and having been contracting on and off for 2 weeks stuck at 4 centimeters dilated and a negative two station. Baby was also measuring two weeks ahead. I asked the Dr to try a membrane sweep and scheduled an induction for the following Wednesday on 12/13. I woke up on 12/8, having regular contractions 3 minutes apart. This wasn’t completely unusual as I had been experiencing this type of situation for two weeks. The difference this time being that the contractions were much more painful. So my husband and I packed it up found someone to watch our son and headed to the hospital. When we arrived I was 5.5cm dilated, so things were definitely moving along.
I experienced a lot of back labor and just knew baby was not sitting right. 4 hours later they checked me again and I was only at a 6. This was nothing like my first labor where I arrived at the hospital at a 5 and 4 hours later was holding my son in my arms (after two hours of pushing). Nope it appeared the contractions were just not doing what they were supposed to. So the Dr requested to break my water. Now I was very adamant in my birth plan about not wanting my water broken unless I was trying to push and changing positions didn’t help. My biggest fear being that it would place me on a 24 hour timeline towards a c-section. They assured me that if they broke my water they would not put me on a 24 hour time limit and the only way a c-section would occur was if I or baby were in serious distress. So I agreed. They broke my water and placed me on my side with my legs wrapped around a peanut ball to help the baby turn. Contractions become crazy close together, and the pain intensified so fast I was unable to get myself to the meditative state, which ultimately saved me during my first labor. I screamed, cursed, and squeezed my partners hand.
It was maybe 20 minutes before I was ready to push. I literally felt my son’s head and body turn and push its way down. I pushed for about ten minutes, and felt the ring of fire. That was probably the most painful part of the whole experience as I literally felt myself being ripped apart. With my first I was in such a deep state of meditation I didn’t feel the ring of fire and didn’t even realize that I pushed for 2 hours, and thought the pushing lasted only fifteen minutes. This time I pushed for 10 minutes and it felt like an eternity. With my first I ended up getting an episiotomy (because of babies head size), which became a 4th degree tear. This time I experienced a 2nd degree tear, which included some un-sewable tissue loss. Despite the awkward tear, I have a million times more energy this time than I did the first.
I was able to jump back into things much more quickly as well. I also have not had any issues with baby blues or ridiculous crying boughts’. I have cried on a couple of occasions, but only about things one would expect an overly hormonal newly postpartum mother to cry about. It appears at least for now that I am/have avoided postpartum depression.
After pushing baby out, he was immediately handed to me, and I got to hold him while I delivered the placenta. I also got to watch my husband cut the cord this time, and was able to feed him right away. With my first he was immediately whisked away, because there had been mecconium and they were worried he might have swallowed some. There was no mecconium this time, in fact baby pooped for the first time right in my hand as I held him. I was so happy to just finally be holding him that I didn’t care. I was left alone to feed baby, and after holding him for two plus hours they finally took him for measurements and testing. They were quick about it though handing him back to me within 20 minutes and giving me yet another hour with him before they took him away for vitamin k shots, eye goo, and whatever other testing they do while they switched me to a recovery room.
I was at the hospital for 2 nights and three days, they took baby each night for testing, and knowing I wasn’t going to be getting any sleep at home I allowed them to hold him there until it was feeding time so I could get extra sleep. On the second night, while baby was out of the room for testing I had a small scare where it appeared like I might have a seizure I felt the early signs with the numbness forming in my jaw. I learned during my first pregnancy that I have a magnesium deficiency, and I had not had my daily dose. I managed to inform the nurse in enough time and they brought me a magnesium pill, which seemed to really help things and I avoided a seizure.
The entire experience while painful was incredibly beautiful and amazing. I didn’t realize how much I had missed out on with my first. I feel so much more bonded to this baby than I did at this point with my first.