The last month of my second pregnancy was miserable. I thought every day for a month that I might be in labor. I had contractions galore and a myriad of other symptoms I had experienced at the very end of the first pregnancy or not at all. I remember praying every single night, “Please, please, please let me go into labor tonight.”
Ryan came home for lunch one day, as he always did, and I must have seemed somehow different. He never even calls in sick but for some reason that day he decided to finish his lunch quickly and head back early so he could finish up a big job he was working on and then leave for the day to come support me.
He came home around three and we all went to a nearby park to walk and time contractions. They were consistent and getting basically closer together, but they had done that all month and then stopped after a few hours. They would also throw me off a bit. I’d have them every 9 minutes, then suddenly none for 16 minutes, then 12, 11, 9, 9, 8, 8, 8, 3, 9, 8, 8, 8, 12, 10, 8, 7, 7… somewhat of a pattern but I just didn’t know.
Something Ryan said to me was incredibly helpful. “You’re not a robot. Your contractions aren’t timed by a perfect computer. Just because there’s a little bit of a variation doesn’t mean they aren’t still regular.”
We got smoothies and then went home so he could make dinner for himself and Baby A. I felt too sick to my stomach to eat any dinner so I nursed my smoothie and timed contractions.
I finally felt convinced that this was probably actually labor right before our little guy’s bedtime. We spoiled him a bit and then we all read extra bedtime stories together. Ryan tucked him in while I laid on the couch trying to relax, then I moved back upstairs to climb into a bath and told Ryan to get some sleep since I wasn’t sure how long it would take for things to really get rolling, assuming they kept up.
At that point my contractions were all just abdominal so I was able to get through them fairly easily. I continued timing them because I found it relaxing and helpful to see myself progressing on paper. I read a book in the tub and just looked up to note the time and then again to write it all down after each one was over.
Eventually I had to stop reading during contractions, and then finally couldn’t focus on the book at all.
At that point I knew things were really getting real.
Contractions started to get more intense but I was doing fine. I had learned some different techniques through Hypnobabies and found myself getting through it all surprisingly well by myself by reminding myself that my body was made for birth and by picturing the moment I held our baby girl in my arms and introduced her to her big brother.
Around 11pm, contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and difficult to get through, mainly because they were now in my lower back just like during the first pregnancy. (I later found out this was because she flipped over towards the end and ended up being posterior as well)
I got out of the bath and woke Ryan up. I told him I was feeling a little confused and wasn’t sure if we should go to the hospital soon or not. On the one hand my contractions were getting pretty close together but at the same time they were nowhere near as intense as they had been much earlier in labor with Baby A. Ryan said he would leave it up to me and let me decide when I thought it was time. Right about then I had another big contraction and when it was over Ryan’s face had completely changed. He said, “I’m gonna go load up the van and then I think we should go.”
We got to the hospital at 12:01am and I said, “Well, it’s officially her due date.”
I got in their bathtub as soon as I was allowed. Ryan alternated between helping me, watching our son, and trying to get in touch with the babysitter. I kept up the same methods I had been using at home but it wasn’t as easy to get through them at this point.
I started to tell Ryan through contractions that I couldn’t do this and needed the epidural and he would remind me that I could do it and didn’t want one. I’d pant at the end, “Thank you, you’re right. I can do this. I don’t want it.” Then start it all up again.
Finally contractions got intense enough that I couldn’t actually tell when one ended and another began. It all just bled together in a continuous arc of pain around my belly and lower back. I got the epidural and as soon as it was in place they checked me and said I was at 9cm. I had been at 6cm just two hours before! I couldn’t believe it. I was happy I had progressed so quickly and I very much wished I had known I was at 9cm before I’d asked since I would have without a doubt known I could handle one more centimeter without the epidural.
The babysitter arrived around 2:30am and then at 3 they said I was ready to push. Ryan got Baby A ready to go but he screamed and cried and refused to leave with her. We quickly decided that whatever, he could stay as long as the babysitter didn’t mind being in the room. She did not.
I pushed for 16 minutes and then had a healthy, beautiful sweet baby girl.
I carried so differently that we were all sure this one would be an eight-pounder but she surprised us all and weighed 6lbs, 3oz… an ounce lighter than her big brother.
She nursed for a full hour and only slept when we snuggled her in our arms—fine with us!
It was a beautiful birth and she was the sweetest little baby I had ever met. I can’t believe she’s a big one-year-old now!