It’s funny how the second kid kind of becomes an afterthought. Okay, wait, that sounds kinda cruel. Seriously though, I remember being so precious about every little thing with my first pregnancy – I dared not lift a heavy thing, eat or drink a drop of forbidden poison like caffeine and I began studying up for a healthy, efficient labor. When the second kid was on his way, I was still too busy with my first to even remember I was pregnant at times.
Preparation this second time around really only included figuring out how to juggle the toddler whenever the second one decided to come. When he was finally on his way, a few things happened differently, a few things had become second nature, and a few things were of the oh-god-no-wonder-I-blocked-this-feeling-from-memory variety.
Here are a few that fit into the latter category:
The Urge to Vomit
I went into the hospital to be induced, but once I was all strapped up to the monitors I told the nurse I thought I might be already having contractions. They felt nowhere near the kind of contractions I was having when I went to the hospital with my first. The nurse looked at the monitor print-out and counted…”Yeah, these are about…4 to 5 minutes apart.”
Well, hot damn! This should be a breeze, I thought. So, I waited pretty comfortably for the rest of the morning. When I was about 6 cm dilated, contractions were more noticeable and I was suddenly needing to focus to keep from feeling nauseous. Uh-oh: nausea. I suddenly remembered throwing up when I transitioned my first time in labor. I told my husband to get the nurse so I could have something to throw up into and to tell them to check me. Armed ahead of time with my special plastic hospital bag, I didn’t end up throwing up this time around!
Broken Water, Not Pee
“I think I peed,” I weakly told the nurse from my squatting position. Nope. My water had broken and was trickling slowly with each contraction. It was my first time giving birth and my concept of “water breaking” came straight from the movies. Since it wasn’t a sudden obvious gush, I thought I was just involuntarily peeing myself and was even slightly embarrassed for it. It was quite a relieving feeling, however.
With the second baby, they broke my water for me. Before they did so, I was feeling some slight pressure that I wanted relief from and knew that that strange peeing sensation of my water breaking would be close. It was also a relief, this time, to know exactly what would be going when I started to “leak.” Still gross, but not so embarrassing this time.
The Screaming & Writhing
Now the show is really on the road. No more causal contractions anymore. After another hour or so, I was doing my little foot dance to work through my contractions. Foot dance? Well, the nurses at the presence of my first birth pointed out that they could tell when my contraction was starting by watching my feet. I’d start wiggling my toes. I remember the movement helping the first time, so this time I gave right into it. It started with my toes and as they grew more painful, I just let my legs writhe back and forth in pain.
In addition to that writhing was the loud moaning. Again, it was helpful the first time, so I hummed and moaned as much as I needed. Suddenly I wanted to scream. Oh, the screaming! That took me back to the almost-two-hours that it took me to push out my first. The first time a contraction made me want to scream this time, I had my husband get the nurse again because I knew the next one would make me want to push and if I wasn’t fully dilated, I needed someone to tell me not to push. With the midwife back in the room telling me not to push yet, I was ready to do whatever she said in order to avoid the screaming pain of my first. Luckily the next part didn’t last long…
All in all, this birth was not nearly as difficult as my first. He was halfway out after the first push. On my second push my midwife said, “Okay, Claire I want you reach down and grab your baby!” With all my energy invested in screaming and pushing, I replied with a panicked “Nonononono, I can’t!” (But I did on the next contraction). The things I say during labor make me laugh because my goal is to be oh, so cool. I begged my first to come out with every push. Things were a little smoother this time.
…is a massacre. Part of me forgot the horror because I thought that this less traumatic event might be a little tidier. The trail of blood I left on the way to the bathroom told me I did not escape the mess that is post-partum recovery. I’ll take my peri bottle, post-partum undies, tucks and painkillers now, please!
Despite reliving all the horrors of the first-time, there is, of course, that one great amazing feeling: the sweet relief of holding my sweet babe.