oh boy! Designing Life: ROUND 2•
Posted on March 27 2020
Although my son, Connor’s, birth was less dramatic than his sister’s it still had many firsts for me that took me by surprise. By my third trimester I had convinced myself that Connor would be coming slightly earlier than his sister (she was 40 weeks and 1 day). EVERYONE said second children come much faster and earlier. I also was convinced he’d be a March baby because it just seemed to fit. So many lies we tell ourselves when we’re pregnant… and if you couldn’t guess, I was wrong.
My due date came and went and no baby. No signs of baby. April rolled around. I knew what a real contraction felt like this time and nothing came close. There were many nights of “maybe this is the night” but never an actual “this could be it, let’s head to the hospital” moments. After saying goodbye to everyone I came across everyday because I was sure I’d pop any minute, I finally refused to leave the house so people wouldn’t start to believe I made the whole pregnant thing up. People had quit skirting around the issue of ‘are you pregnant’ and hesitations in asking when I was due. I’m not sure if it was actually hearing the answer ‘last Thursday’ that shut people up or if it was my exacerbated and irritated tone (sorry it’s not you, it’s him.)
At my due date my doctor set an induction date for the following week. I was still convinced he’d come before that day, just like his sister had. He didn’t. So with a gleam of hope in the air that he could fall out at any minute, I packed up my toddler (once I peeled her off my leg) to stay with her grandmother (no one was thrilled about this) and prepared to head to the hospital for my 4am appointment.
I was shocked to find that no one was there to greet us at the hospital. In fact there wasn’t even an actual face to see at a check-in, just an emergency phone…on the wall. Had I not done this less than 2 years ago I would have been a true fish out of water. Still, no one came to show us into the luxury room they promise you when you take the hospital tour–P.S. do those rooms ACTUALLY exist for ACTUAL patients?! Finally, after a couple hours, we used the emergency phone to see what was going on and the nurse seemed a little concerned and said someone would be on their way. They weren’t. Eventually, as a decent hour came rolling around, a nurse took us to a room that was clearly only used when in a pinch- a very awkward layout and no window. The morning dragged on and naturally I was starving and desperate to eat any little morsel of something. My baby boy hadn’t let me skip one of my six meals a day since I got over the puking stage and he sure wasn’t ready on this random Thursday.
Apparently there had been some drama throughout the night with an expecting mother’s family but the staff stayed pretty tight lipped about it and all apologized. Needless to say everyone was tired and over it. I also had no idea what to do- wear my robe or their robe? Would I be in this room for a day or 3 days? Would I be pacing the halls to get this baby out?! None of it was like the movies, or my first birth. You’d think an exhausted mom to a needy and clingy toddler would enjoy a day of sitting in a bed watching daytime tv but it was the longest day. If it wasn’t for Friends on TBS I may not have made it. I was too uncomfortable to sleep and overly concerned about my toddler and what’s going to happen next- hormones.
Relief finally came when my doctor stopped in to say, “lets see if we can get this moving so you can have dinner.” Food was light at the end of the tunnel! She came to break my water to aid the Pitocin in moving things along. Once that happened she said I had a short window to decide if I wanted an epidural. She was right! I felt my first (strong) contraction and it gave me PTSD from my first (natural) birth. I immediately called for the epidural!
Brief panic hit that the nurse anaesthetist wouldn’t make it with that epidural on time. I didn’t relax until she started loading that needle up and prepping my back. My husband found the whole procedure fascinating and was almost as impressed with my tolerance for the needle as he was with my initial child birth. Of course that needle was nothing compared to head and shoulders coming out of your vagina, but I digress. Soon after the epidural was administered it kicked in! I was nervous for its affects- everyone shares their horror stories when you’re pregnant. It didn’t totally numb me from the waste down (like I thought) but felt like my legs were asleep on the inside. A feeling like there were many layers to my legs and I could feel the most exterior but was numb within. I could still sort of move my legs (though very heavy) so it was nice to feel some control. Eventually my legs felt like they were asleep in an uncomfortable buzzing/pins and needles way but there was no sharp pain, which I was thankful for.
The sleepy leg sensation made it difficult to sleep or relax but I definitely snoozed in and out all the while the machines showed contractions! Mountainous contractions according to the computer I was hooked up to. That was an amazing notion for me!
All of a sudden it was go time. My doctor checked back in, promptly before dinner and it was time to push. Just like that! A few pushes (which was a feat because I couldn’t feel what I was doing) and not a lot of feeling down there and I’m pulling out our baby boy! I was a lot more propped up during this birth so once the shoulders were out I could look down and see him and shimmy him the rest of the way out. He was happy and healthy. Pooped immediately as per usual but not much crying or fussiness. I was still exhausted but in minimal pain (that comes later.)
As my cousin and brother start to trickle in pretty promptly after the whole event I begin to realize I’m in soooo much pain. Like burning pain. Without all the constant pain and adrenaline from a natural birth I realized that my epidural was wearing off and I could not handle the burning sensation (after a lengthy period of being stitched up.) It was too much that I couldn’t hold my baby. Let me just say that I don’t think this is suppose to happen. Something went awry with the nurse staff and hospital room capacity so instead of being moved to recovery (with all the sweet recovery nurses!) I had to remain in delivery where I was still under the delivery nurses who had moved on to tend to other births rather than my pain levels. I realized the nurses that helped me go to the bathroom the first time didn’t give me ice or any of the sprays or supplies to handle my current situation. In their defense, they aren’t suppose to deal with mamas and babies post birth. I was suppose to be pushed on over to the nice warm room with the nurses that just want to make you cozy and comfortable and had pre-made kits for your postpartum needs. Fortunately, this wasn’t my first rodeo but I still couldn’t remember all the sprays and tricks to literally pull yourself together down there. And I didn’t know I needed to! If I learned anything from my first birth experience it was how to communicate my pain levels so I became a pesky patient to those delivery nurses. ‘Hello?!?!? get me some pain meds, stat!’
The next big event, long awaited, was the next morning when my 22 month old daughter came to visit her new baby brother. Everyone’s nerves made her nervous to come in but she quickly was back to her usual self and happy to sit with mom and walk the halls with dad. After another night in the cold, windowless room they finally opened up a spot in the recovery ward. Hallelujah. We finally could give our sweet baby boy his first bath and found where all the new babies were hanging out. The nursery was loaded with sleeping little babies! We didn’t linger but took him back with us and continued to obsess over him.
We took Connor home without a hitch and quickly started settling in as a family of 4. With a toddler on the loose you don’t get to lie around so we decided to turn Jake’s 2 week paternity leave into a mini vacation. We drove to Georgia for a cousin’s wedding and had our next big adventure.
Newborn photography by http://www.annmangumphotography.com/