I blogged about Lego’s birth soon after he was born, so I wanted to do the same for Duplo’s (Daniel=Duplo). This one went pretty much exactly as planned. I’ve had some people ask how “going natural” went as opposed to having an epidural. I’ll try to be as honest as possible about everything. Sorry in advance for the length.
I had a pretty serious false alarm three weeks before Duplo was born. I was having mild contractions every two to four minutes for two hours, so I figured I was probably in early labor. Because I’d been induced with Lego, I didn’t know what the first stages of labor were like, and my doctor had told me to go to the hospital when contractions were five minutes apart for at least an hour or two. Also, Lego was born six and a half hours after I was first induced, so I was a little worried about making it to the hospital on time. Everyone kept telling me that second babies come faster than first. After three hours of monitoring, the contractions were still coming just as fast, but they weren’t getting any more painful, and they weren’t affecting my cervix at all (I’d been almost 3 cm dilated the day before and nothing had changed despite five hours of contractions). They eventually sent me home with an Ambien so I could sleep through the night. I was sure the next day I’d be back. The next morning, the contractions died down at about 9:00. I was seriously bummed, actually.
Days went by with no more major bouts of contractions. A week went by, and another. On Monday, I started having pretty frequent contractions again, but again, not very painful. They continued all day and died down in the evening. The same thing happened Tuesday and Wednesday. I decided that I was going to wait until the contractions really hurt before going to the hospital. I hoped I’d recognize real labor and not have another false alarm, while also not waiting so long that I had to do transition in the car or something.
At 4:20 a.m. Thursday morning, I woke up with a very painful contraction. I couldn’t go back to sleep because they kept coming, every eight minutes or so. I tried to relax. As time went by, I began to realize that this felt different. This was almost definitely the real thing. At about 6:00, I got up to get dressed. As soon as I stood up, the contractions got closer together. I had to keep stopping to lean on the bed during them.
I asked Jon Boy to put pressure on my lower back during the contractions, and that helped a LOT. Like, it cut the pain in half. We got ready to go, and, as planned, called Jon Boy’s mom to come watch Lego. Her cell was off. So was his dad’s. So was his brother’s. I don’t know about Jon Boy, but I definitely started to worry. The contractions were 3–4 minutes apart at this point and pretty painful. We still had a 15-minute drive to the hospital, plus the time it took whoever we could find to watch Lego to get to our house.
Luckily, Jon Boy’s brother called back after a few minutes and was over at our place fairly quickly. We arrived at the hospital at about 7:30. We’d called my sister, Kenneren, before leaving so she could drive up and be there with me in the hospital. She arrived only a few minutes after we did, which was perfect. Kenneren is working on a nursing degree and considering being a labor and delivery nurse. She just finished a class in maternity nursing (not sure the real name of the course) and has been a wealth of information throughout my pregnancy. She is also my dear friend, so I’d asked her to be there to give me moral support and to serve as a sort of liaison between me and the medical establishment, as it were.
The nurse asked for my birth plan and started monitoring my contractions and the baby. She didn’t have to do a medical history or any of the educational stuff because they’d done that three weeks before, when I was in for the false alarm. That was good because the contractions were getting pretty intense and frequent. I made it through most of the monitoring time more or less okay with pressure on my back, but pretty soon I started moaning and yelling.
That surprised me. I honestly expected to labor almost silently because that’s how I usually handle pain. I don’t think I made much noise at all before getting the epidural last time, and I had thought the contractions were pretty intense then. I guess I found out they can get quite a bit worse.
Kenneren and the nurse filled the jacuzzi tub with warm water during the last few minutes of monitoring (one of the main points on my birth plan, and one I kind of doubted I’d actually get, since not all the rooms have jacuzzis). Once they unhooked me, I basically ran between contractions and got in. The minute my feet were in the water, I felt myself relax. The warm water was great; the jets were heavenly. I stayed in the tub for about an hour, and during that time, I was able to keep from yelling during many of the contractions. I found, too, that the more I yelled, the tenser I got because it scared me somewhat that I felt so out of control that I couldn’t stop yelling. The tenser I got, the more the contractions hurt. So staying quiet, for me, was actually helpful. It also gave me something to concentrate on.
After an hour, the nurse told me I had to get back on the monitors. I managed to dry off, go to the bathroom, and get dressed between contractions and made it back to the bed. Once out of the water, I was in a lot more pain. Or at least, I felt the pain a lot more. Maybe it was also that the contractions were actually getting worse. At any rate, they said they were going to check my cervix. I decided then that I had to be in transition, and if I wasn’t measuring close to 7 cm, I was going to ask for an epidural. I couldn’t imagine making it through anything worse than what I was doing then, or at least, not for very long. Jon Boy and Kenneren were making bets as to what time I would deliver the baby. Kenneren guessed 11:00, I think, and Jon Boy said 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon. I felt panicked at their guesses. It was about 9:30 then, and I was sure I was going to deliver the baby in the next hour.
I guess it’s self-evident, considering I didn’t have an epidural, that I was 7 cm dilated by that time. They broke my water with my permission, and they warned me that labor would very quickly get a lot more intense. I figured that that would happen no matter when my water broke, and it might as well happen sooner rather than later. They were right. The next contraction was a doozy. I was pretty much moaning or downright screaming constantly now, depending on whether I was at the “lull” between contractions or the high point. I remember thinking, “Transition is usually not very long. Maybe seven or eight contractions? That’s six more. I can do six more.”
Kenneren kept telling me I was doing great. I felt like I was completely out of control, but I figured she knew what she was talking about, so that gave me confidence. (I found out later that mine was the first natural birth she’d actually witnessed live. Hah! To be fair, she’d seen lots of videos, apparently.)
I didn’t swear, though I did yell, “Baby!” a few times. The doctor thought I was saying I needed to push. I think I was just mad at him. Hehehe.
It was only about 15 minutes before I started getting the urge to push. I began pushing when I felt the urge, which was one contraction before the doctor (not my OB/GYN; she was in a meeting) told me I could. I told her, “I just did!”
I think the doctor thought I would deliver the baby with only a few pushes, but he kind of took his sweet time. Well, I only pushed for 20 minutes, but it seemed like he wasn’t making much progress at first. Probably a lot of that was that I was in pain and wasn’t pushing as hard as I should have. I corrected that and did better after the first 10 minutes or so. I delivered on my side (again, part of my birth plan) because I’d read that this was the best position for avoiding tears. It worked; I only got one slight tear. I’m healing extremely well too, at least after a slight scare due to heavy bleeding after the birth was over. Pitocin and “fundal massage” (the least relaxing massage EVER!!!) helped take care of that.
Duplo was born at 10:05 and weighed 9 lbs. 3 oz. As soon as his nose and mouth were suctioned out, he cried heartily for about five minutes. I was so thrilled to hear him cry.
The placenta took 20 minutes and a surprising amount of pushing to deliver. It was pretty big too, I guess.
I nursed Duplo right away, something I hadn’t insisted on with Lego and regretted later. He latched without much coaxing, and he nursed greedily and well for a long time. Since then, he has had absolutely no problems with nursing, except maybe lack of supply of colostrum to meet his demands. I finally gave up and supplemented with formula in a little cup a few times before my milk came in.
So far Duplo is a virtually perfect baby. He nurses well, sleeps soundly, and keeps a regular and easy schedule. He wakes about twice a night to nurse and then goes back to sleep. When he’s awake, he’s quiet and alert. He cries only when he needs something. Lego is learning to be a good big brother, though we do have to say, “be gentle,” a lot. We’re glad to have Duplo in our family.