They say the second labor experience is often faster than the first, and boy were they right!
Eli-Shai was big, and we were unsure of his due date. At 39 weeks according to my calculations (figured out by my last menstrual cycle) he was measuring at 42 weeks. I couldn’t be positive about my dates, and had been walking around as if I had a bowling ball between my legs for about a week. So the morning of February 28th I took 2 big tablespoons of Castor oil – straight, and went about my business.
At 8:30 pm that evening I was reading some bedtime stories to my two-year old son when I felt my stomach beginning to churn. I went to the bathroom after Dylan had fallen asleep and had a little bit of diarrhea. At this point I was not sure if it was the effects of the castor oil, or if I was going into labor. Just incase it was the second, I started to prepare the bedroom. First I put a plastic shower curtain down on the white carpet, and then covered it with a blanket. I then put a blanket over the bed to protect the quilt, and got a bunch of towels and put them to the side. I also went to the fridge and got out some coconut water, which I placed in the room that I had thankfully thoroughly cleaned during my nesting phase a few days before. I already had flowers in a vase on the windowsill and a few candles ready to burn.
It was now 9:30pm and I was still not sure if my stomach was turning summersaults or if it was actually preparing for birth. I went to the bathroom and saw a pink tinge on the tissue. I was then convinced it was the latter, and called my midwife to let her know that I thought I was going into first stage labor. I then ran a bath.
The bath felt great! The warm water was soothing but the contractions were getting stronger. Much stronger than I remembered them being during my first time, when my labor lasted 23 hours. After 45 minutes of laying in the bath and breathing through my contractions I felt a ping and a gush between my legs as my waters broke, and I released my mucus plug. Then the contractions came on even stronger. Brad, my partner, was sitting on the edge of the tub and had the ‘What to expect when you’re expecting book’. I asked him to read out what it said about the different stages of labor, to figure where we were at, but also to be distracted. I think I also got him to recall his family history at this time! We concluded I was definitely in the second stage, and rapidly getting close to pushing. Brad grabbed the phone and dialed the midwife who could tell by the sound of my voice that this was it- she assured us she was on her way. By this time I was out of the tub and on all fours on the bathroom floor taking some very deep breaths and working through the intense contractions.
This labor was very different! The first time had been very slow and soft and the contractions were easy to absorb – it took a long time but I was deep in Reiki, and the experience was more steady than intense. This energy was totally different-strong, full, very present, and very INTENSE! It was like big waves of energy surging forcefully through my lower torso, and all I could do to stay on top of them, was to take in really deep breaths and loudly exhale out.
I think this was around the time my birthing team arrived and helped me to the bedroom. The midwife measured my cervix and said I was not quite at 10 centimeters but it felt REALLY good to push down. When I did the whole area radiated with heat but did not hurt, but the midwife said I was not ready. I tried to wait. I was on my knees resting my elbows on the bed with my chin resting on my clasped hands, with Brad and the midwife behind me. I bore down anyway. It felt good and took me out of the intense contractions. My first labor – I pushed for 4 hours! My second labor I pushed 3 times, and the whole labor lasted 4 hours from beginning to end, ending at 12:36 am with a 9lb 8 ounce boy.
Dylan had been asleep throughout in the next room, but just before my placenta was delivered, in he walked to greet his new baby brother. He didn’t seem to notice anything except Eli. The midwife checked me and saw that I had torn, (should have listened to my midwife about not pushing early), so she took me to the next bedroom and stitched me up. As I lay there I could hear Dylan, daddy, and Eli bond in the next room. I ached to be there, holding my new little boy but I enjoyed hearing daddy talk to his two sons and how great being brothers is going to be. I joined them after getting sorted out. I was not utterly exhausted like the first time and felt great, so the midwife tucked us into bed, said goodbye, and all FOUR of us cuddled up and went to sleep.
Image Credit: mauimama