This is a guest post by Ana at Our Happinest. Learn more about Ana below!
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My second delivery was worlds apart from the first. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was more experienced the second time around. Realistically though, I think being in the right mental space is 90% of the battle.
If you haven’t yet, you should read My Natural Childbirth Story where I describe my entire first labor and delivery in detail.
I pre-labored with my second daughter, Daisy, for about 18 hours. What in the actual F.
I had never heard of pre-laboring before. But now you have. Pre-labor is when you have contractions that ARE in fact labor contractions, but baby is not actively moving down.
My doctor told me they just help to ripen the cervix and can last hours or even days! Yikes!
I actually thought I was in labor about 6 hours in, and went to the hospital. Triage checked me in and got me in a room to wait for the doctor.
Then my contractions stopped. What?? Yes. They stopped. Totally.
The doctor came in – a man, mind you – and told me that “maybe you aren’t feeling what you think you’re feeling”. And maybe I should shove an 8 pound bowling ball through your innards and you try telling me again how I wouldn’t know that feeling if I felt it.
I got sent home.
Hubs laid down to nap, Tiffy was at Grandpa’s house, and I was pissed and pacing and wondering if I was crazy.
I wasn’t. I know what labor feels like, and I know I was in labor.
So, I took a long shower. I ate well. I paced. And I timed those contractions. 5-1-1 became 4-1-2. Time to wake up the husband.
When we got to triage this time, I was 6cm dilated and they hurried me to labor and delivery. My doctor showed up shortly after (yay!) and we were ready to go.
I had looped my doctor in on my birth plan this time around – having gone over it at least six times prior during visits. Make sure you read 6 Important Things You Forgot On Your Birth Plan to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I did the first time.
The room was quiet except for some music hubs was playing for me. Nurse and Doc stayed close but outside the room. It was just R and I rocking, swaying, and breathing together. Peace.
This time as I felt each contraction, I reminded myself not to tense up. That sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?
The contractions happen deep in your womb. They are meant to ease baby down through the birth canal. When you are scared and tense up from the “pain”, you prevent the contraction from working. Which means it all goes on for longer!!
What I did instead was focus on “opening up”. Like if you were a big voice singer from the 80s. I focused on opening my diaphragm, opening my abdomen… just letting it all expand.
That’s what all those breathing exercises are really trying to teach you. Just like in yoga. Breathe in when you feel a contraction coming, and breathe out slowly through the crescendo while relaxing everything as much as possible.
I could literally feel baby moving down.
Yes it was still crazy intense, but each contraction was distinct. They weren’t rolling over each other in a desperate primal attempt to push baby down despite my unknowing efforts to keep her in.
I was working with my body instead of against it, and that made everything SO MUCH BETTER.
I did have a bit of an emotional breakdown somewhere in there. I missed my daughter so much. She’d been away from me nearly 24 hours, which is the longest she’d ever been away, and I really just missed her.
My husband spent nearly the entire time squeezing my hips together and massaging all the right places. It sounds silly or counterproductive, but it brought the intensity of my contractions down from an intolerable 10 to a manageable 7. Huge difference.
I was able to talk between contractions which is not something I was doing the first time around.
This time, I wasn’t half out of my mind and scared because it was so overwhelming. It was still overwhelming, but I was ready for it. I rode the wave.
When it came time to push, I was conscious of every contraction, every muscle. I felt baby move down and out, where the first time I didn’t notice anything until it was over.
This is significant, because I was able to stop pushing when each contraction ended. I tore a little with my first baby, and I think it was because I just kept pushing and pushing and didn’t stop to listen to my body. I didn’t give myself time to rest and stretch.
My second baby didn’t tear me at all, and my “recovery” time was nada. Zilch. No fear of using the restroom after. No pain meds. Nothing. I was totally 100% fine.
This time, my doctor made sure the room wasn’t rushed with a bunch of people. The only people there while I was pushing was the nurse, the doctor, and my husband. It was quiet and my birth was peaceful.
Baby D looked totally different from her sister. She was white, blue, and purple, with a full head of dark hair and dark eyes. She was also totally wide awake – though she kept yawning and sticking out her tongue.
Surprisingly, she was even bigger than her sister – just shy of 9lbs! It’s surprising, to me at least, since I gained much less weight this time around. Harder to pack on pounds when you are chasing a toddler around all day!
I’m very glad to have had that experience and to know that I can take some control over a process that is so naturally primal and inevitable. I wish I’d known how to do that the first time around.
My second labor (the active part) was only 6 hours long – compared to my first, which was 13 hours. And yes, I feel like a rockstar.
If you’ve made it this far, and are considering a natural birth for yourself, make sure to check out my post Want to Give Birth Naturally? for some great ways to prepare. Also, it’s worth reading The Birth Book by Dr. William Sears for great tips and advice for delivery. There’s even a section on how your husband or whomever is with you can help during the delivery.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
If you want to read more from Ana, check out her blog at: https://ourhappinest.com/