I'm nervous to write this because there has been an element of sadness about Konrad's birth that feels totally misplaced when I see how beautiful and healthy he is. And how in love with him I am. The truth is, I was scared.
WOMEN USED TO DIE ALL THE TIME IN CHILDBIRTH.
Ha. That is what I have been having to remind myself. After Evelyn took a casual 40 hours of labor to be born I had decided to go straight to the hospital for our second. Honestly, I found out I was pregnant only 4 1/2 months after Evelyn and the memories from the birth center were still too fresh in my mind to think of trying that again. Plus there was the fact that we had had to pay both the midwife and the hospital in the end.
In my mind, my birth plan was to labor at home as long as I could with all the freedom and comfort of my own space and arrive at the hospital in a full panic, pushing the baby out the minute I was set up in a room. Secretly I wanted to have the baby before they even got a chance to stick an IV in me. And if that didn't happen and I was due for another marathon labor, I wanted to avoid the epidural as long as possible.
"I have no plan this time," I would declare. "I just don't want a c-section."
Double HA. This pregnancy was long. And tiring. Toward the end especially I noticed that I was getting HUGE in the belly. I had stretch marks, the tendons and muscles underneath my breasts were all pulled and sore, and I hadn't been able to sleep for weeks. I could NOT STOP complaining.
18 weeks and 41 weeks
Then my due date came and went. After an ultrasound at 40 weeks, the doctor told me that the baby seemed very big, possibly 10lbs, and I might need to be induced. I cried every day for the last two weeks of this pregnancy. I took herbs, walked every day, drank raspberry tea, and bounced on the yoga ball. At 41 weeks and 2 days I went to my appointment and the doctor told me I needed to be induced that night. He didn't want to risk the baby getting any bigger. I was only dilated to 1cm and my cervix was not soft making me a pretty bad candidate for induction. I was nervous and relieved at the same time because I was struggling with still being pregnant but knew that induction is not ideal and wanted to give the baby all the time he needed.
It seemed so far from the all natural birth that I had planned with Evelyn.
That night I kissed Evelyn goodbye (still hurts my chest to think about) and Kevin checked me into the hospital. The nurses set me up with cervadil (a flattened tampon), an IV, blood pressure cuff, fetal monitor, and an ambien. That ambien was ridiculous. It made me sky high before I completely passed out.
Every nurse who saw me seemed genuinely shocked by how pregnant I was. This was a suspicious fact considering that they work in a labor and delivery ward...
Through the night I dozed off and on. Every time I went to the bathroom I had to unplug myself from all of the machines and wheel the IV pole with me. I woke up at 4AM with the same contractions that I had been having every night for the last few weeks. Usually they would make it hard to sleep but taper off by the morning. This time, however, they remained more regular and started gaining strength as I stared at the clock. I hadn't been given pitocin yet but it seemed like my body was going into labor on its own!
At 5AM nurse Pat came in and told me I could take a shower. Apparently it is uncommon for a woman to go into labor with just the cervadil so Pat didn't really take me seriously when I told her I was having contractions. The shower was the best part of this labor. I was focused, and determined to work with my body through each contraction. Leaning my palms against the wall and swaying with the water on my back, I talked to my baby and told him how I couldn't wait to meet him and how ready for him we were. By time I got out of the shower at 6 I could tell that the contractions meant business.
But back in the room, with the IV hooked up and by myself I began to get nervous. This was very painful and Kevin was home with Evelyn. He was going to take her to my parents at 10 and then come stay with me at the hospital. That was at least 4 hours away! I paced in circles around the room with my IV pole counting and breathing and trying to text in between. It had taken so long with Evelyn and I was scared of going through that again.
Suddenly the strongest contraction yet hit me and the baby along with what felt like my entire body pushed downwards. KAPOW! Just like in the movies, my water broke all over the floor. I remember looking down, confused at how much of it there was and how loud it had seemed. It was as if my universe had narrowed down to a razor sharp point and then burst open in the most confusing array of colors.
Luckily Pat came in a few minutes later. Her previously calm demeanor suddenly changed to shock as she shuffled me to the bed and checked me. "oh wow 8 cm" she muttered nervously.