Birthing Children, Part Two

This is the second of our "birth" stories... click here to read the first.

Though we didn't find out our first son's gender before he was born, we opted to find out the gender of our second baby. We were so excited when we learned that we would have another son. I know many people desire "a girl for me a boy for you and praise the Lord we're finally through"... but we have always wanted more than the average number of children (even from our early days in dating, this was something that confirmed our "rightness" for each other). So having our first two children be little boys that would grow up as buddies so close in age to each other, and who could grow to be young men who will challenge each other in their walks with the Lord-- this was a wonderful thing from our perspective.

After the intensity of the experience of our first son's birth, you can imagine how wary I was to be adamant about waiting for our second son to come on his own... that decision had come back to bite me!

As we discussed our concerns with my doctor (physical, financial, and emotional), he suggested that as long as everything seemed normal and healthy, we could induce a week early in order to avoid the possibility of re-living anything similar to our first birthing experience. We still prayed and asked others to pray for a natural experience, and I believe God answered that prayer-- just not by bringing him on his own. (Heck, I even tried giving a little "help"-- I took castor oil in large doses two different times in the week leading up to the induction date... still, nothing happened except having to go to the bathroom a lot!)

We scheduled an induction (one week before his due date), and I went into the hospital in the morning, and they started the IV drip of pitocin (a medicine that causes contractions) at about 8:30/9am. Contractions began immediately and my body responded well to the medicine. Though my cervix tends to dilate E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y slowly, things were progressing, and by noon, things were advancing quite well.

It was such a different experience from our first... peaceful and quiet, with a young and sweet nurse who made us laugh when she did have to come in, and generally left us alone when it wasn't necessary that she be there. I was able to breathe through contractions and talk with friends and family in between... it was such an enjoyable labor.

Around 3, things were getting intense and I knew it was almost time to push. See, this time, I didn't get an epidural, and I actually *knew* what my body was needing to do. What a difference it made to be able to work with my body rather than feeling like it was the enemy! (And for the record, I'm not saying epidurals are wrong or bad-- they're just definitely not good for me.)

When they checked my cervix for dilation, they found that I had very quickly jumped from a six/seven to a NINE (ten is when you can push)... so suddenly, the scurrying began- getting the tables set up, running to call the doctor, etc. Very quickly (within one contraction, I think), I knew it was time to push. I told Doug, "Tell them I'm pushing-- I can't help it" (hey- your body really DOES know what to do when it's time). Of course, the nurses came in and told me not to push, but --seriously, come on!--what's a girl to do? I kept right on pushing. The doctor sprinted in the room JUST in time to catch his head, and to me, once the head's out, the rest is a breeze. He was born a little after 4pm. He was given to me, and I was able to hold him for a while and just look at him. We were able to nurse right away, and my small tear required minimal stitches.

After nursing, Doug went with him to the nursery and I was able to get down off of the bed, and walk to my room, stopping at the nursery to watch as they weighed and measured him (he weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces... nearly two pounds lighter than our first).


It's funny-- with as adamant as I was with our first to do everything "natural", here's how it came out:
  • required pitocin anyway
  • got an epidural (TWO, actually)
  • I was in a mental fog and physically in a wheelchair for the first 12 hours, too weak from the entire experience to be otherwise.
  • Doug didn't get to hold him for 3 days (I held him only for 15 seconds right after birth)
  • didn't get to nurse him for 4 days
  • in the NICU with medicine and wires galore for 7 days because of infection
And with our second, though I was "scheduled" for his birth, the only real "unnatural" thing was the use of pitocin.
  • No epidural (I did get a dose of stadol, a pain reliever, the last 30 minutes of labor)
  • held him and nursed immediately after delivery
  • I walked into the nursery and back to my hospital room on my own
  • no meds, no interference for him, etc.
After what had been a horribly emotional and trying first birthing experience, this one was completely a blessing... I felt so free and blessed to be able to hold him all the time, to be able to snuggle in the middle of the night in our hospital bed, to be able to check out every little amazing part of his body and stare at his feet, his hands, and his perfect little face.

Though it wasn't technically a fully "natural" experience, it sure FELT like it! And I am still so grateful to God for giving me that contrast and teaching me how different each labor/delivery experience can be. And I'm so thankful for this funny and sweet little man that God has put in our family-- he makes us all laugh and has such a precious personality. He'll be four this summer, and is a delightful son to us and brother to his siblings.


Rachel said...

My second baby came amazingly fast (1 hour) and since then I've heard that the second baby almost always surprise people because, while the first part of labor might take the same amount of time (key word: might) the second part of labor is almost always faster, so you can go from 6-10 in 30 minutes (or less!).

My experience has also been that my body knows when to push a lot better than *I* do. I don't even realize I'm ready but my body starts pushing anyway. I have never understood the idea of not pushing at that point. Whoever says that has obviously not been in that position, or doesn't have a good memory b/c it is darn near impossible not to do what your body insists on doing.

Another interesting anecdote is when I was in Nursing School, I attended a Conference for Nurses in the OB/NICU fields. At the beginning of the conference the speaker had anyone raise their hand if they had ever "caught" a baby, b/c the Dr. didn't get there in time. Almost everyone raised their hands. It's so common, I don't understand why nurses are so afraid of it. (But I've also never been an L&D nurse, so what do I know?)

Kim said...

I can't believe he'll be FOUR! Has it really been that long? I remember getting a voice message from you that you were home and nursing "sweet little Baxter." He's a mighty big boy now, huh? :)

And by the way, I think you need to just ask the doctor to induce you because I want SOMEONE to have a baby! (Other friend, also not in labor.) Yes, it's purely for selfish motives... ;) Love you, and I am praying that Mr. Silas makes his entrance THIS WEEK!

Kim said...

P.S. Rachel, the issue, from what I understand is just liability - IF something goes wrong, the doctor has a lot more malpractice coverage than the nurse does.

My sister-in-law went relatively quickly with my nephew, and despite repeated calls for the delivery team, they didn't respond. So when they "practiced" pushing with the nurse, his head came out (first push, "1..2..3.." head was out). My brother had to walk into the hall because the nurse was holding my nephew's head in and ask if someone was going to come deliver the baby or if he needed to just do it himself (he's a paramedic; at the time was an EMT). A very nice doctor they'd never seen before came in and caught the baby.

My friend's mom, when she was delivering my friend (so nearly 36 years ago) was crowning, and because a doctor wasn' there, a nurse told her to "sit up" and the head went back in! OUCH! :)

Labor stories are fun...

Rachel said...

I understand that 'in theory' (that's it's a liability issue) but I tell ya', I'd be much more likely to sue someone because they made me hold the baby in longer than if they caught the baby as it was coming out. I mean, my husband has done that.

But I know. It's all about "the rules".

I do love a good birth story too. (and they're all "good").

deb said...

My last labor was an hour. It was very quick, and I have often worried that if I became pregnant again(something that I would love to happen) that I would end up giving birth in some embarrasing place like the middle of the grocery ailse. LOL

I am so happy for you and that this birth went so much better for you. Hooray!!

Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

Oh, man! I did it all as well. I did the Pitocin, and I did the natural....I also took castor oil! YUCK! Each experience was different. Each experience changed me. And you NEVER forget them!!!

Johanna said...

I too was thrilled to learn I would have another son because I wanted them to be close age buddies! Everyone assumed I would want a girl for my second, too! I bet your second son seemed tiny after the size of your first! Even induced a week early with my second, he came out 8lb, 12 oz and 21 3/4 inches long! Can you imagine how big he would have been if he had stayed in 2 weeks longer like is brother? Makes me thankful for the induction the second time around! My how perspectives change over time...

Terry said...

I only had one "natural" birth, and that was my first (it wasn't drug free). It has been interesting to read your birthing stories.

Looking forward to "meeting" your impending new arrival! And praying you have a blessed and healthy delivery.

Anonymous said...

Jess, I read your blog often but have never commented before. I am about 4 months pregnant, and reading your birth stories has made me feel stronger! I pray to God that my delivery is natural and easier like your second child. Thanks for your honest words about childbirth!

The Simple Shepherdess said...

I can't wait to read more of your birth stories:)

dcrmom said...

Stopping by to say hi. Not a lot of blog-reading time these days.

I had an epi with all 3, but my first was a horrible experience, not b/c of the epi, but b/c of all the internal tearing, surgery, and long recovery. The other two were so easy. I was walking around the next day.

One of my friends, who has 4 children always jokingly says, "The solution is not to have a first child." I guess the first is often the hardest?

I look forward to reading part 3! :-)