Sunday, February 9, 2014

Don't Bet On It

The first time Bugga met her little sister Bella
Back in December when I was nearing my due date for baby #2, I had tons of questions about the upcoming childbirth experience. I knew that if things went exactly as they had for baby #1, then I'd be thrilled (and relaxed, since I'd know what was coming). Unfortunately, outside of a scheduled c-section (and even still) childbirth is ALL about the unknown. Below are some questions I had while I waited to feel the build-up of the first contraction, and how things worked out in my case.

1. Will the baby come early/on time/late?
My first was 4 days late. They say on average that babies come earlier and earlier with each labor. However talk to ANYone who has had a baby and it seems to me the verdict is split. This baby came 6 days late. So there ya go.

2. Will I go into labor on my own?
I went into labor naturally with my first. As I was sitting around on Friday night, 5 days late, I feared I would have to be induced. Even worse, it would be scheduled for Christmas Day. I dreaded the thought of a) my toddler missing out on Christmas morning traditions the year she is finally starting to understand, and b) my poor second born would have a holiday birthday and forever hate the fact that people would always be giving her combo presents. I went into labor naturally that night, and Bella was born 6 days late, with no induction.

3. Will my labor start the same way as it did the first time?
The first time around, my contractions started as a dull pulsing at 9 AM already coming every 3 minutes, and lasting about a minute for the first hour. Then things intensified and I had the baby later that day. This time around, my contractions started around 10 PM, lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, and coming anywhere from every 5 minutes to every 30 minutes. They were all over the place. This was a bit stressful since second babies can come a lot faster than the first. So of course during these hours of initial labor I had inspriring visions of birthing this baby in our car on the way to the hospital. Totally not a cause for concern at all. Right. Anyway, these random contractions went on through the night, never building enough in intensity or frequency enough for us to feel like we needed to head to the garage until about 6 AM. And then things started to move very quickly...

4. Will it hurt more/less the second time?
So it definitely hurt the first time. I labored at home as long as I could (5 hours) and then once we made it to the hospital I was ready for my epidural. I dilated pretty fast so that was the best decision I made all day, and the baby was born 3 hours after I received the epi. This time I thought I'd entertain the thought (ha) of doing this unmedicated, figuring it might hurt less since my first baby had already blazed the path down the birth canal. Yeah, right. When I got to the hospital at 8 AM I was a whole 2 cm dilated. The nurse in triage told me to go walk around for two hours. I was disappointed, but the second my feet hit the ground from her examination, my body had other plans and I dilated three more centimeters almost instantly. And WHOA BOY did that hurt. Yep, I was the screamer in Triage. Sorry, other pregnant people in the room. This time around, however, though I asked for the epidural around the same time in my dilation progression as I did with the first baby, the nurse had a painfully hard time getting my IV in, which has to be done first. Painfully is what I mean literally, as she stuck needles up and down my hands and arms, jabbing me until she finally found one that worked. And at that point I was fully dilated. She asked if I was sure I still wanted the epidural. Oh yes, I had earned it from the IV disaster. 

5. Will it again take forever for my milk to come in, resulting in my baby having jaundice?
With Bugga, it took 4 very long days for my milk to come in. Babies are built with fat storage to cover this amount of time (along with the colostrum), but after four days the billirubin had still yet to be flushed from her system and she became jaundiced. For first-time parents, this was somewhat terrifying. We were lucky enough that Bugga did not have to spend any time in the hospital under the lights, but she did have a bilirubin blanket delivered to our home that she spent 48 hours straight wearing. She looked like a little baby glow-worm. The second time around my milk came in after two days, so though Bella's jaundice numbers climbed for a couple days, the availability of milk to help flush her system seemed to have helped her ward off the jaundice successfully.

6. How fast will I deliver my second baby?
I heard from many (many) people that their second baby came so fast that they delivered in the hallway, had no time for an epidural, and/or their spouse had to play the role of the obstetrician because they were nowhere near a hospital. So of course I entertained the thought that we'd need towels and such for the car ride just in case. I was in labor with Bugga for 11 hours, from the first contraction to seeing her little pink face. With Bella, using the same milestones, it was around 16 hours. From point of arrival to the hospital, it was about 6 hours for both.

So this is how it worked for me, and not many of my questions could have been answered with "just like the first time". It seems that each of my children are completely unique and different, and these differences start from the date of conception!

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