*** You might not want to read this if you actually know me (please?!)***
Given the impending arrival of Baby #2 in less than 3 months, I have been thinking about the birth of Toddler H and wondering about the birth of Baby #2. Will it be quicker? Will I manage with just the tens machine and a few puffs of gas and air? Will she get stuck? Will I get to hospital in time?
With Toddler H, I had no warning or twinges. We had a slow morning, pottering and I Skyped my parents for the first time. We were going out for lunch and getting as many cinema trips in before baby made an appearance, but running late that day, we dived into McDonalds to grab some chips on our way to the cinema. Walking out of McDonald’s eating our chips I thought I felt something… my instinct said it was my waters. I hadn’t had any signs, nor any twinges, cramps or tightenings… So I knew it must just be things stating to move. I was of the opinion that with a first baby especially, labour takes forever. Most of my new NCT friends had already had their babies; they had hours and days of twinges and increasing intensity. I was of the opinion “we can go to the cinema, this is the first twinge, or it might not even be that!” However, we watched the previews and hastily left as the film was about to start, convinced this was it, my waters were going. The people around us must have been curious given I was 39 weeks pregnant and leaving the cinema hastily as the film started!
I guess with baby #2 we might be more prepared in the sense we’ll have to have a bag ready for Toddler H as well as us and baby. Oh and back up plans. I also imagine we might have plastic car covers ready! In a moment you’d imagine we might have prepared for, Hubby ran to wilkinson a to get a groundsheet or any plastic to put on the car seat, while I slowly walked back to the car. I wouldn’t like a repeat of that given second births are meant to be quicker!
I really hadn’t had any twinges before and wonder if that’s the way it will be next time, is just me? Is that the way I labour, or is it something to do with that birth? Will I have days of twinges and contractions before Baby #2’s birth, like most of my NCT friends? My contractions only started on the walk between the the cinema and car. Not only that less than half an hour later I was sat on my birthing ball at home and contractions were coming every 2.5-5 minutes. Sporadic, I thought. More like I was in the shower and didn’t record it on my app!
I remember following all the advice, I had a shower hoping the water would be nice and my waters completely went. We had quick food, some pizza and chips, before going to the hospital. I remember pacing the stairs, trying to eat with my tens machine doing its thing. I was doing funny yoga walks around the living room. Three hours after the film started we abandoned dinner on the table and headed to hospital. I imagine we’ll be in a similar situation with Baby #2, and I’ll be doing funny walks too.
At the birth unit I remember walking in circles doing more yoga walks, the pain increasing ten fold when I took the tens machine off to have a bath. I also had a quick dip in the birthing pool as per my “I’d like a water birth” on the birth plan I’d popped on the front of my notes. I’m not sure that I’ll repeat either next time.
Toddler H’s heart rate increased in the pool so I had to get out after a few minutes. In saying that I wasn’t entirely comfy in it, I felt very far from hubby and he midwife, a bit abandoned in this pool with a this edge separating us. So I do wonder if my heart rate also went up, or if baby sensed my unease, and this isn’t how I imagined. For a long time afterwards I believed a water birth wasn’t my thing. But I do wonder if I’ll give it a go again, or will I just stick with my trusty tens machine. For some reason I sold my tens machine so I’ll need to buy another soon. I know that’s one thing I believe helped and would hate to labour without it. I’m tempted to learn about hypnobirthing too, but will see if time allows!
Another thing that I know I’ll keep the same as much as I’m allowed is to keeping moving and being upright. I remember being determined to not lie down for the all stages really, sitting upright, helping baby slide out using gravity… “I don’t want to lie down!” really was drummed into me from pregnancy yoga. But baby was a bit stuck so instead of being born 6 hours after my waters started tricking, it was another 3, including stirrups and two episiotomies. The joy!
It was the threat of the (toilet?) plunger and the help of that second impromptu (no numbing) episiotomy that let me push baby out without any help. Oh I can still feel that pain sting of that episiotomy. But it was almost instantly forgotten as, Baby H popped out, crying, squirming. Perfect. I’ll never forget looking at hubby, him saying “girl”, watching him cut the cord. Skin to skin time staring at our baby with her tiny long fingernails and gorgeous eyelashes, being fascinated she had both! I’m definitely opting for immediate skin to skin time again and once again will be writing no episiotomy in my birth plan, just like last time. Keep your fingers crossed for me please!
We then hit a bit of a snag and I hope the next bit of Baby #2’s birth is much easier, especially after the quick birth, and given we’ll have Toddler H to get home to, and a sister to introduce.
I was given some gas and air as the midwife sewed me up. Unfortunately one of those rare occurances happened and the midwife’s needle when through an artery. I was oblivious puffing gas and air and staring in wonder at my tiny baby on my chest, but hubby saw blood sqoosh across the room. I must say I noticed the effect of gas and air during the stitches but not in actual labour when I’d had a couple of puffs getting out of the water pool. The artery was quickly fixed and all sewn up nicely, and I moved room listening to H suck her thumb loudly.
I fed H and was brought tea and toast. But, a bit like the water pool, I didn’t enjoy it, I was so engrossed in feeding baby and trying this breastfeeding thing I’d heard so much about. I definitely do not identify with people saying its the nicest toast they’ve ever tasted, I was just all consumed by baby and hubby.
I hit another hurdle as the midwife ran me a bath, I didn’t reach the toilet, going faint as I got there. I was helped back to bed, the bath abandoned. It turned out I’d lost a bit more blood than they estimated when that artery sprayed.
I had to wait for my blood to stabilise as after birth it does a huge dip as it adjusts. You have to wait 24 hours to see what your blood levels actually are. Mine were low, just on the transfusion scale. So the next afternoon, I had two pints of blood and my levels rose by over 300. I felt a lot better, and off we went home as a family of three. Here’s hoping I avoid a transfusion next time!
I loved my experience of the midwife led birth unit and found it relaxing. I never wanted an epidural or any of that, but would have happily moved to the delivery suit if I’d been in too much pain or had a long enough labour! The birth unit had such lovely rooms and I was so pleased that hubby could stay too. I really do hope for a similar birth unit experience next time, with the added bonus of baby #2 not getting stuck and no episiotomies or arteries spraying!
In saying that, it was a fast first labour, less than 9 hours from start, waters trickling, to birth (and could have been 6!), and that scares me. I do wonder how quickly Baby #2 will be born? If my waters will go first as well? I’m also keep my fingers crossed we’ll be healthy and home not long after the birth to introduce H to her little sister. We would have been home 9 or 10 hours after H’s birth.
I’ve written before about how excited H is about being a big sister and also my hopes for her becoming a sister. I’m feeling more and more at ease with that, she’s so caring and excited. She loves her friend’s baby brothers and sisters and is so caring to them.
As you’ve heard, my birth with H was quick and I loved my tens machine, I actually hope for both with my second Baby, as that will mean H doesn’t see me in pain and we can get home again quickly. I also hope Baby #2 doesn’t have a tongue-tie like H did.
Was your second birth much quicker than your first? Did you find a tens machine as good as I did? Would you recommend hypnobirthing?