Phoebe’s second birth; Quick labor, smooth hospital birth, no epidural.

September 19, 2012

I opted to take a hypnobirthing class for my second child because I didn’t really want to have an epidural again after having one with my first child, Hailey.  Hailey’s labor was a slow, twenty hour ordeal because she came sunny-side up and resisted bowing her head down so that she could come out crown first.  I also suspect that the epidural might have contributed to the length of my labor because I couldn’t feel anything at all when I had Hailey.  I had to be told when to push, and didn’t feel like I could really actively push at all even when I was told to do so.  I just thought I might have a better labor this time around if I could feel more of what was happening.

As I went to bed the day before Lindsay was born, I remember wondering if I might have my baby on by birthday.  My birthday was September first—the next day and sure enough I woke up a little before 5 am to the sound of thunder.  I listened to the rainstorm outside and started to feel myself having surges.  I waited to see if I was really going into labor or if this was just a false alarm and, at about 5:30 am, told my husband Lauren that he probably needed to start timing my surges because I was feeling pretty certain that this was the real deal.

As Lauren timed, I finished packing my hospital bag and packed up a bag for Hailey.  When the surges came I just practiced relaxing and breathing like Laura Curtis had taught, and I was feeling pretty good.  After about 40 minutes my surges were about 5 to 7 minutes apart, and Lauren and I figured we had better head to the hospital.

My doctor, Heather Harrison, had encouraged us to try and get there quickly because I needed an IV for strep B.  I thought we were making pretty good time because I figured we still had at least another 4 hours of labor to go.  So when Lauren asked me if I thought there was time for him to take a quick shower before heading to the hospital, I told him I thought that would be fine.  But right after he stepped into the shower, my water broke.  I started to feel pretty nervous because it was apparent that this delivery was going to happen a lot faster than I had expected.

I told Lauren what had happened, then called my doctor and called a friend who was going to watch Hailey for us.  We quickly woke Hailey up and piled into the car.  After dropping Hailey off at my friend’s home, we made our way to the hospital.  Lauren was timing my surges at about two and a half minutes apart by the time we got to the hospital.

Lauren just left the car by the hospital curb, grabbed a wheelchair for me, and we raced up to labor and delivery.   Things were happening very quickly.  Everyone was running around getting us checked in, checking my vitals, and getting me to a bed.  Heather examined me, and I was already dilated to 5 cm.

The surges were getting stronger and my body reacted by throwing up.  I asked for and got a very small dose of anesthesia through an IV.  Heather and I had talked about this previously as an option if I felt like I was struggling to have the labor completely unmedicated.  It turned out to be a nice option for me because it helped me to relax and calm down between surges, but I still felt like I could feel everything that was happening during each surge.

During this brief time of calm, my husband asked if I thought there was time for him to go park the car and get my bag—and get me a piece of gum to help get rid of the aftertaste in my mouth from throwing up.  I told him that I thought it would be fine.  I figured we had at least one more hour to go before the baby would come.

But just as before, I anticipated incorrectly.  My husband wasn’t gone for more than a minute before my surges increased dramatically in intensity.  Luckily the nurses and Heather were there with me and knew what I was talking about when I asked them to help me through the surges by pressing on my knees and using pressure points.  I started to panic a little as I felt my baby start to come. My husband was still not back from parking the car, and I felt uncertain as to whether or not I was really capable of having this baby without an epidural.

Lauren returned in time for the baby to crown, but I was still in a little bit of a panic.  Everything was happening so much faster than I anticipated, and the feelings were so intense.  My breathing got fast and shallow, and I got very tense as I started to push Lindsay out.  Luckily, Heather was able to help talk me through my panic and get me to focus and slow down my breathing again.  As soon as I slowed down my breathing, I was able to relax. I repeated to myself that I could do this and my confidence came back.  After I was able to refocus I just pushed one more time and Lindsay was there.

There was an immediate feeling of happiness and relief as they placed Lindsay on my chest.  I told her what a great job she had done!  I couldn’t believe that it was all over and she was there in my arms.  Everything had gone so quickly and smoothly in comparison to my first labor.  We had arrived at the hospital at 7 am and Lindsay was born at 8:15 am.  The nurses commented on how Lindsay was pink all over—no blue feet or hands.  In some ways she didn’t look like a newborn because she just didn’t look at all traumatized.   I was so proud of my new daughter and so happy that she was here safely.  And I was very happy with how smoothly my labor went.  I felt like my delivery and my recovery couldn’t have been much better than this experience was, and that taking my hypnobirthing class gave me the confidence to have a baby without an epidural.

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