It’s only been one week, but is it possible to be more in love the second time around?

I gave birth to my son last week. I went in hoping to be able to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after caserian).  My reasons were not only recovery wise, but for my emotional satisfaction. That’s because I was incredibly disappointed during my first delivery. Every experience is different, every mother has different needs and expectations.

His due date was the 23rd. I took leave from work on the 30th hoping for a full three weeks of relaxation and nesting. I have to admit, I kind of want him to come early to give me more time to recover before my cousin’s wedding. I wanted both of us to get acclimated enough to be able to see all the family who would be expecting to meet him.

On Friday morning, I woke to a bit of dampness in my underwear. Over the previous week I had lost huge pieces of my mucus plug so I knew anything was possible. This wetness did not have any coloring associated with it. I suspected it might be fluid. When I called the OB office, they asked if I was gushing. My assumption was no. They asked me to come in to check.

At the office, a strip test confirmed that I was leaking fluid. I had a small break. Unlike the first time, I did rush. I asked how long I had to go home before heading to the hospital. I called hubby and let him know he would need to wrap things up at work. The biggest goal for me was eating! Knowing the last time was days without eating solid food, I want to enjoy a nice snack to make my tummy happy.

We snapped a couple last pictures of my belly in front of the hospital. The funny thing is that we ended up in the same birthing room as the last time. The nurses were friendly. I don’t know if protocols had changed since our last birth or just my attitude was different. Knowing about the impact of health care reform and patient satisfaction scores, I would not be surprised if protocols changed in response to surveys. The best part about the second time is having a better understanding of what’s going on and what I need.

Hospitals are definitely not an fun place. As immediately as I donned my gown, they were preparing me for IV access. It brought flashbacks of last time when it took them four attempts to get the line in and them towards the end of my stay it bled. Every bad experience from my first birth flooded back into my mind. Still, I thought about how much better this would hopefully be.

Again, I was asked if my fluid was gushing and I wasn’t sure how to answer the question. Sure, I felt little spurts of water escape, but I would not define that as “gushing.” Since I wasn’t feeling any contractions, they gave me pitocin. I was wary of getting it knowing all the side effects but I did not know enough to offer an alternative. It took effect pretty quickly and some big surges of fluid came. Now, I understood what gushing water was.

This all started around 2pm. It was very similar to our timing with the first baby. If we followed that pattern, I wouldn’t be pushing until noon the next day. Fortunately, that assumption was wrong. I moved along fairly well to the point where I wanted my epidural by 4pm. Last time, they gave me too much and I could not feel anything which was frustrating when it was time to push. I asked the anesthesiologist to give me a dose that would still provide some feeling of the pain. Well, the first attempt worked, but only on half my body. To make sure that it simply was not a delayed effect, they had me wait a full hour before redoing the epidural. Every three minutes or so (I really don’t know) I had to breathe through a contraction. It was not fun but I got through it with breathing, squeezing hubs hand, and verbal tone release. Once they redid the epidural I was good.

Sometime after 6pm, it was time to take a nap. I only had a few centimeters left and it was good to rest. Grandma had our older one and we talked by phone to explain the situation and assume him Dad would see him tomorrow. I don’t know how long I actually stayed asleep. I can still recall a lot of the beeping from the machines. It’s not a peaceful environment to be sure.

We awoke around 10pm. The doctor came and checked my progress. We were near full dilation so they prepared for pushing. The bed setup was changed to add a space to catch my body waste and the baby. The doctor gowned up and the nurses moved items in place. The doctor knew my wishes from the many talks I’d had with my primary OB (part of a shared pool). There was no disagreement, simply that I would have an opportunity to push for an hour after which we’d move to a C-section. I trusted that she was as determined as I was to make this VBAC happen. The only concern was that similar to the older one, we had a sunny side up issue. It would be a little more challenging to get him out. Having him early hopefully would help in terms of his size.

I have to admit, I was a little concerned that we would have a Friday the 13th baby. Sure, as a teenager, he’d think it was cool, but it was not my preference. I kept that silly concern to myself. I don’t believe in planning births. I want mother nature to do what’s best for the baby. At 10:40, they propped up my legs and encouraged me to push on the next contraction. Hubs helped keep me calm and support my pushing. The pushing was exhausting, especially in the uncomfortable position of being on my back. I wish I could have been in a different position.

Some time before midnight, we made some good progress. The last half hour was crowning. Once the head came through, she has me pause. It was horrible because I wanted to so bad to finish pushing. I could feel him body stretching my vagina beyond its limits. I know she was probably checking that the cord was out of the way but I did not like waiting. It was such a relief when she told me I could finish pushing at minutes before midnight. I felt his body pop and slip out of me. It’s hard to describe the sense of relief and satisfaction that went through me at accomplishing this amazing birth. Hubby and I both thought they’d call the birth at 11:59pm. to our surprise she recorded 12:01am. The time a child is born is so arbitrary. (Now I don’t believe in any of those New Year’s Day baby times.)

The next step was meeting my little boy. They put him on my chest and I kiss his matted hair. He was probably still messy and covered in a bit of blood but I didn’t care. He was here and perfect. I can’t remember if they took him back briefly to clean him. I just remember the best part, having him resting on my chest and like a champ he immediately latched and started sucking. My hormones went through the roof. I was in heaven. This is the birth I had always imagined and wanted. It was what was denied me the first time around and I took it back.

There are times I think it’s not fair to my first born. As much as I love him because he will always be my first, his birth can’t be compared to his brother’s. I cuddle and cradle this baby like nothing else. I feel like we have a special bond because we were together immediately.

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