With the first child you kind of have no clue what’s gonna happen. What is he gonna look like? How is labor gonna work out? Which day will he born? Will he be a good sleeper?
With the second one you think you know and expect everything to be the same as with the first one. I couldn’t imagine Felix to look any different from Milo, I thought labor is gonna feel exactly the same and be a slow process again and I thought he was gonna be born a few days before his due date. Guess who was wrong.
Felix’s labor and delivery was very different from Milo’s birth experience. Since I never told Milo’s story, let’s rewind real quick. The whole process was pretty straight forward with Milo. I had some slight crampiness the two nights before everything started and didn’t get much sleep. Regular but painless contractions started at 6 AM on the 11th of August 2010. Linc and I went to Target to get some last supplies and had lunch at Cosi. At that point the contractions were 5 minutes apart and I could not stand to sit on my butt during contractions. Imagine that big pregnant lady at the restaurant standing up from her chair every 5 minutes.
Around dinner time the contractions became really painful and I couldn’t talk through them any more. They mostly were a huge pain in the butt. Literally. Milo’s head must have been pushing on a nerve down there and all I felt was (beware, major TMI) a knife up my butt with every contraction. Around midnight we went to the hospital. I was 4 cm dilated and the contractions became further than 5 minutes apart again. My whole body was just tired from standing up for 12 hours straight. So after 12 hours of trying to natural I decided to get some relief through an epidural and could not thank the anesthesiologist enough for putting it in quickly. It was another 11 hours before I could push Milo out for 1.5 hours. For a total of 18 hours of active labor the result was a totally exhausted mom.
And then came Felix. Or so I thought. I started to have regular but painless contractions on Thursday evening, August 9. Getting all excited that we will have a baby that night, we finished some last minute house cleaning and bag packing. Then I decided to lay down for a bit to preserve energy for when things get painful. Well, I woke up the next morning and the contractions were gone, no baby here. What a disappointment!
The same thing happened the three following days. Sunday it was Milo’s birthday. We went to the park and had a nice family day together. I was having the same fake contractions the whole time, but had kind of given up hope that they would ever turn into real labor. I swore that I would probably have the baby at home because I wouldn’t believe it when the real thing would finally happen.
Sunday night I did some baby shifting exercises because I figured that all these practice runs were meant to bring the baby into the right position. He had been facing backward the whole pregnancy and babies that lay that way have a harder time coming out. Little did I know that this was exactly the help my little man needed. I lifted my belly during a few contractions, then laid down to sleep, when all of a sudden I felt a big shift inside of me, almost like a pop, and contractions became 3 minutes apart and painful immediately after. This was at 1 AM. We waited another 2 hours at home to make sure it was the real deal and then checked into the hospital at 3 AM. At that point I was well into active labor, but still managed to breathe through the contractions. The pain wasn’t nearly as bad as with Milo and most important – it wasn’t in my butt. These were real manageable contractions. I was so happy to experience some normal non-crazy labor.
Over the next few hours my cervix kept dialating 1 cm an hour, but my contractions started to grow further apart to every 6-7 minutes. Therefore the midwives suggested to break my water to speed things up again. At this point I was still able to manage the contractions without pain meds, but the thought of having them every 2 minutes instead of every 6 made me decide to get an epidural before breaking the water. Everything was going so calmly that I did not want this peaceful labor experience ruined by a crazy finale. I will never find out if I could have done it completely without pain meds, but I do know that I had the nicest and peaceful labor experience I could wish for.
After breaking the water at 8 AM and 8 cm dilation, contractions came back to back and got me fully dilated in less than two hours. I started to feel a lot of pressure in the upper belly and asked the nurse if I could up the dosage of the epidural. Turns out that pressure was the baby ready to come out. I was fully dilated and ready to push. Unfortunately the midwife was helping somebody else at that time and it took her seemingly forever to get to me. By the time she got there, Felix almost slipped out by himself. It took only 2 pushes and he made his entrance to the world. Best. Moment. Ever! Meeting my two babies have been the overwhelmingly happiest moments in my life and make the whole 9 months and labor so worth it. I love giving birth and would to it again every year, if it didn’t involve ending up with more and more children.
We are pretty sure that our family is complete now. Milo has a buddy, our bedrooms are all occupied, and we are ready to move on with our lives – getting back to do fun things like bike rides, camping, rolling down hills, and such. While newborns are certainly cute and I love my new son, they certainly put a hold on your life for a good few months. I couldn’t imagine being restricted by pregnancy and a newborn sleep schedule for a good part of my active life. Now just a few more months and we’ll be back in business!