Friday, January 13, 2012

birth stories part one

After several requests, I was finally able to pause life for a few minutes and write my birth stories in a three part series. The first part will cover Little Miss L.'s birth, the second Baby D's birth, and the final post will cover the 24 hours after the birth of Baby D.

There have been so many people who have asked me about my birth story... "Was it faster than your first?" "Did you get drugs?" "Did you have a c-section or was it natural?" "What has your recovery been like this time?" These were just a few of the common questions I have been asked over the last several months. In life, I have always had the mentality to expect the unexpected and this couldn't have been any more true than when it came time to giving birth for the second time.

When asked if I went in to the second birth with a plan, my response is "absolutely not" and I never had any intention of having one either. When I gave birth to Little Miss L. I never went to the hospital with a birth plan either - you might ask why... well, the way I saw it was I had never given birth before and therefore I had no idea what to expect. Yes, people can tell you what it is like and you can read hundreds of books but you never truly know what it will feel like for you and what sequence of events will take place that day until you are in the moment yourself. I didn't know how my body would react, I didn't know what my pain tolerance would be, and I didn't know how the medical system would play out on that very day. I guess, in a way, I didn't want to disappointment myself. Of course, I went in thinking that I would wait at home as long as I could, and that I would try to give birth naturally without any drugs, but I didn't want it to be written in stone. I wanted flexibility and I didn't want to walk away after bringing a new human being into this world disappointed and feeling like a failure of some sort. It could have also been the fact that I was living abroad at the time in a country where I did not speak the language and did not understand their medical system (more about my experience giving birth in another country in a later post.)

In short, giving birth to Little Miss L. went something like this:
  • woke up at 6:00am having contractions. They were irregular but bearable. I lose my mucus plug. Told the hubby not to worry and head to work.
  • 2:00pm contractions become very intense. They were about ten minutes apart. I call my good friend in Canada and tell her I am in pain - she is able to talk me through a few of my contractions.
  • 5:15pm contractions became extremely intense to the point where I could not talk or move my body.
  • 7:00pm contractions were unbearable, I didn't think I could take the pain any longer. My contractions were five minutes apart. I start to worry because the hubby is still not home, he had to pick my parents up at the airport. I begin to panic, the thought of giving birth in our apartment without anyone around starts to set in.
  • 9:00pm I could not take the pain any longer and decided to head to the hospital. I say a quick hello to my parents who have arrived in Portugal and I am on my way.
  • 9:30pm arrived at hospital. Doctors were changing shifts, so I had to wait in the emergency waiting area.
  • 9:35pm my contractions were exactly two minutes apart. The only thing I could do was hold onto the wall and breathe through each contraction.
  • 9:40pm my water breaks in the waiting room. We realize there is meconium in my water. I am rushed immediately into a room where I am given an ultrasound to make sure everything is okay with the baby.
  • 10:00pm they confirm everything is fine and will be bringing me into the delivery room.
  • 11:00pm I decided that I am too tired and did not want to deal with the pain any longer. I want an epidural. They check and I am only 4cm dilated. I thought long and hard about the epidural. Realizing I was only 4cm dilated at this point in the day, I didn't know if I had enough energy to handle another five more hours if that was what was in store for me without the epidural.
  • 11:25pm I am given the epidural. It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I experienced very little pain. I felt my body relax within minutes. I could now rest and gather some energy.
  • 12:30am they inform me the baby has not dropped and I would need to urinate or I would have to have a catheter inserted.
  • 12:40am no luck in the washroom department, probably because my poor hubby had to stand there translating, telling me to pee or else the nurses would get mad at me. They prepare me to insert catheter. They check to see if I have dilated any further. I am now 6cm.
  • 12:45am they decide not to insert catheter and then the nurse and doctor start yelling at me to push. A million things are running through my mind as I don't understand half of the things they are saying to me. I look to my hubby for help. I could not feel any of the contractions because of the epidural. They continue to tell me to push every few minutes. I continue to push until I feel a burst and than instant relief.
  • 1:10am Little Miss L. arrives. I was given an episiotomy (even though I asked them not too) so for the next 30 minutes they worked on stitching me up and delivering my placenta.
  • After giving birth, I stayed in the hospital for four days. My recovery was very slow and I dealt with serious pain for three months from having the episiotomy. I could not sit, or even walk without pain but I wouldn't change a thing because I received a beautiful and healthy baby girl.

We now have the epidural.
Feeling so much better after receiving my drugs!
Little Miss L. only minutes old.

Daddy with his baby girl.

First sleep out of the belly.

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  1. Great post Shanna! What an experience, especially in another Country! I'm looking forward to reading about baby D's arrival, as I will be heading to the Hospital in April for our second and am interested to hear the differences between the first and second delivery.

  2. Thanks Lindsay! I will be posting Baby D's arrival soon. Let me say that it was two very different experiences. Hope all is going well with your pregnancy.