While my first birth had clearly defined stages, no complications, and went according to my plans, this birth was drastically different in every way, except one: I was able to have another natural childbirth with no medical intervention — for the labor and delivery, anyway. (Here was my birth plan.)
I guess it started back on Saturday, December 10th, two days before my due date. I was having minor, constant contractions all day long, just like I did the day before my first was born. Thinking that this could be a similar birth (as I was told to expect), I called my parents and doula to share this bit. Sunday morning I awoke early with harder contractions. After 45 minutes, I alerted my doula, my parents, and Aolani’s sitter to journey to our place. Ricky checked my cervix: 5 cm dilated. So far, this was turning into a repeat birth experience.
But then the contractions slowed as I moved around. I lied back down in bed to sleep while Ricky entertained “the help” (sitter and doula). And sleep I did. The help left. I felt so discouraged and embarrassed.
My parents eventually arrived that afternoon and were not going to turn back and drive the five hours back home when it seemed labor could come any time.
So there we all were, waiting. Contractions came Sunday and Monday, but they were not consistent or close together. Just random. Then, on Tuesday… nothing.
Oh and by now, I am very frustrated. As if I can do anything to make labor happen.
Wednesday showed (the birth day!), and I slept in until my normal, which is when Aolani wakes between 7:15-7:30 am. Expecting to start labor in the wee morning hours (like I did before), I already felt disappointed. However, I did start having some tougher contractions as I got going that morning. Ricky even went in to work for a short time (my mom was with me). Finally, I rested in the recliner and began timing the contractions. Although they were consistent, they were still not close enough together to take action. Plus, after what happened on Sunday, I wanted to be absolutely positive before making a move. I called my doula just to give her a heads-up and keep her notified. She recommended that I lie down and try to nap. Instead, I lied down on our couch to watch a movie, While You Were Sleeping.
During the movie the contractions spaced to ten minutes apart, but they were consistent, long, and hard. I made it to the end of the movie, and then, I got up. The contractions came rushing one on top of another. After a mere four minutes, I declared that we needed to head to the hospital. We finished our last-minute packing, told the doula to meet us at the hospital, notified my doctor, and left. Aolani ended up going with us because my dad would be there to watch her, and I felt that this delivery would be quick.
We drove to the hospital, which took 50 minutes due to traffic. When we were five minutes away, I started to feel pressure and told Ricky that he better get there fast. [Now, I am not one to cry wolf, so we all knew what that meant: birth in the car might be a possibility.] My mom started praying loudly from the back of the van.
We made it there. I thought that the baby would fall out if I moved and got up, though.
I got to a room a few minutes later. All the nurses were taking their sweet time — wanting a fetal heart monitor and a hep-lock. A nurse checked my cervix: 8 cm dilated and not completely effaced yet. I told them that it didn’t matter how my progress seemed because they were not going to have time for any of what they wanted. This baby was coming! (A woman knows her body.) They ignored me and tried anyway. The doctor came and checked me and left. Not even a minute passed when I shouted that I had to push, NOW! They scrambled to get the doctor back. I rolled onto my side and cried out for my doula. In an instant, my water burst on its own, and I became fully dilated and effaced. I pushed for 20 minutes before baby Micaiah arrived. [I was at the hospital 35 minutes before Micaiah came — talk about cutting it close (not recommended).]
Micaiah went to my chest. Ricky got to cut the umbilical cord. Micaiah was crying but no noise was heard. Apparently, he had swallowed some fluid on his way out of the womb. So, they took him to the warmer (some call it an “isolette”) to help clear his lungs and passageways. Then, they felt that he needed to go to the Special Care Nursery and receive some oxygen until he could breathe perfectly on his own and his lungs cleared.
That took two hours. However, they also were concerned that he may have received an infection or pneumonia from the aspirated fluid and they would need to run tons of tests and give him antibiotics. [Insert a very long, nasty story that we do not want to post publicly on the Web.]
Anyway, I do not want to get into all this messiness, but we complied with everything the neonatologist wanted to do (and racked up a huge bill). Thus, we had to stay at the hospital three days and nights until Micaiah was discharged. Aolani was permitted to stay in our room at night as I am still nursing her :) I did get to breastfeed Micaiah throughout our stay at the hospital, too. Most importantly, Micaiah is perfect. All of the tests came back normal and negative. We were all so glad to leave there and go home!
Other notes: I tore very little, which has been grand for recovery’s sake (even though the pushing time was less than with Aolani, I think I stretched more). My foot is not twitching this time! I did not focus on the intensity of labor and delivery in this post, but it is hard work! Remember: giving birth is comparable to a marathon, they say. Total time in labor: I don’t know when to say it officially began, but maybe 5-7 hours. I have no idea what Aolani was thinking during all my moaning..
Here is Aolani’s birth story