Leading up to month 8, I started to realize that this third pregnancy was a bit different. I wasn’t feeling as prepared for the labor as I did with the other two, which I feel is the opposite of what would happen. You would think because I’ve done this two times before that my mind would be put somewhat at ease. I knew what to expect, it would be easier for me to form a “birth plan” and stick to it. Instead, I almost feel as if I am floating along on this anxious delivery train that’s about to derail. Mixed feelings sway in and out throughout each passing day and I wonder, “Am I really capable of doing this a third time?”, “will it be easier than the previous two?”, and “how will I know when to head into the hospital?”
A bit of background of my two previous birth stories…..
Olivia, took her time, breaking my water at 11:30 pm after a 12 hour shift at the hospital at 38 weeks, 3 days. She took us by surprise and of course, my husband was at work at the time. I was Strep B positive and headed into the hospital right away. I labored with intense 2 minute contractions from the time my water broke until 8 am and then caved for an epidural. An epidural that only ever took on one side and after being adjusted two times, I gave up. Around 2:30 pm the following day I felt an urge to push and my epidural which had taken on one side was pretty non existent for both sides. I asked for additional medicine, but they suggested to refrain since my pushing would be more effective without it. After 4 hours of pushing every 1 – 2 minutes, she was born sunny side up at 6:27 pm. I managed to get through about 2 hours of the “ring of fire” and nearly passed out from pain in between contractions. It’s funny what our minds do though, after birth. We get these visions of only the most beautiful parts of the birth and it makes us want to experience it all over again…..
So, in 2015, I gave birth to our little Ellie bear. She tortured me with prodromal labor for two weeks leading up to her actual birth and the night she was born, my water broke while walking around the neighborhood at around 6 pm. Seeing that I was strep + again, we headed in. My contractions started up furiously after my water broke and by the time I arrived at the hospital, I was 6 cm. I labored until 10:30 when I felt the world’s most INTENSE lightening pain in my lower abdomen that had me crippled to my knees. I thought for sure something ruptured or happened to the baby and had the midwife hook me up and monitor the heart rate just to be sure. Baby was just fine, content even. I was in transition. Transition is a very hard thing to explain and it makes me very emotional even thinking about it. Overwhelming feelings of nausea, lightheadedness, and shaking. My body was in complete control and there was nothing I could do. I had to trust in my body and follow it’s lead. After about 5-6 transitional contractions, I begged for an epidural, which my midwife kindly tried to talk me out of. “You made it this far and you’re doing great” she said. Regardless, I had a few choice words and still asked for an epidural. They set me up and got the epidural ready, but, as my anesthesiologist walked out of the room to grab medicine, it was time to push. There goes that! In hindsight, it would have been MUCH easier to use laughing gas through those painful contractions. I pushed for about 20 minutes and these were VERY effective. I could feel each inch of her moving through the pelvis. The midwife was able to rotate her from sunny side up to facing my back and she came flying out. Overall, a much more pleasant experience compared to my first and a MUCH better recovery.
I think that the reason I feel so uneasy this time is that I know that an epidural is not in the cards. It never fully worked the first time, I didn’t have enough time the second time and I know that I need to stay strong with this third delivery. I have been through it all, TWICE. I’ve got this. I try to meditate and think about the fact that our bodies are made to do this. We are STRONG and capable of anything. Birthing babies is something we’ve got down. Women have been doing this for centuries without any aid at all. Breathing into the pain with each contraction, knowing that every second is bringing me closer to meeting my baby for the first time.
Every night my body goes into training mode and starts off with some braxton hicks and slowly increases into more intense contractions. Last night, they were every ten minutes and I had to breathe through some of them but after a few hours, they drift off. I think my body is mentally preparing me. It understands where my anxiety stems from and with each passing night, I feel more confident in what my body is telling me. It’s telling me that I can do this. Practicing my breathing techniques and learning to fall deep into each contraction has me certain that I will have an amazing birthing experience this time around.
We’ve got this baby, we’ve got this.