I’ve waited too long to try and right this down. Life is sure more hectic with two babies than it was with one. I’ll do my best to remember everything. If you are interested in a refresher on Evelyn’s birth story, since I’ll probably be making lots of comparisons, you can find the beginning here.
First of all, the difference between my 2 pregnancies and deliveries was like night and day. And I’m not just referring to the fact that one was born in a dark, dark room, and the other with the sun shining and the lights on.
Pregnancy: With Evelyn I was sick, I had carpal tunnel that made my hand feel like it was on fire for 6 months, I had gestational diabetes, and I swelled up like a sponge in a bathtub. With Mikey I had no complaints, until I was blind-sighted by an inguinal hernia at the beginning of my 3rd trimester. With Evelyn I read books, took classes, sang to her, sewed for her, made up a nursery, painted furniture, and called her by name for months. With Mikey I did none of that until I started sewing some things about a month before he was born.
And then we come to Mikey’s birth. I’ll just tell his story now, and perhaps throw in a few comparisons, but mostly leave that up to you if you want to compare with Evelyn’s on your own.
My number one goal with this delivery (you know, besides safety and all) was to not be induced. The Pitocin and I didn’t care for each other, and I was perfectly happy to go a week overdue if I needed to. Pain relief wasn’t something I thought much about. I had to have an epidural with Evelyn, because she wouldn’t come without it and I nearly had a cesarean. I figured I would just wait and see this time.
Because of my goal to not be induced, I wasn’t focusing much on my due date. I just figured he would be late, and that he would come when he was ready. I was hoping for an Easter baby, just because I thought that would be fun. I scheduled an appointment for a consultation with a surgeon in Seattle about my hernia for March 30th. That made my doctor a little upset- he told me he didn’t want me travelling that close to my due date. I thought he was just sore about my decision to see a surgeon in Seattle rather than a local one. We disagreed on several things relating to my hernia, but that isn’t really important.
On Monday, March 26th, at my OB check, he told me that I was starting to dilate (2 cm) and that the baby was beginning to descend. He said that he thought he would be seeing me again in the next 48 hours. I probably rolled my eyes, and I didn’t take him very seriously, but I did decide to postpone my consultation. He asked me to come back on Friday (the 30th) so he could check me again, if he didn’t see me sooner. He said similar things when I was pregnant with Evelyn, so I basically ignored him because of my decision to avoid being induced.
On Friday he told me I was 3.5-4 cm dilated and asked if I wanted him to strip my membranes. Because that only works if the baby and I are ready, I decided I was fine with that. He did it 2 or 3 times with Evelyn and nothing ever happened. I planned on seeing him back for my OB check the following Monday. Immediately I started having the lovely pinkish discharge. I had some cramping, but it was minimal- like early menstrual cramps. Saturday morning, I started to realize that my minimal cramping was coming at regular intervals. I never had any contractions with Evelyn until after the Pitocin, so I didn’t know what I was supposed to be expecting. Steve and I both remembered that I was told with Evelyn that contractions make your stomach hard- like your forehead. But these were just felt down low, below my big belly, and in my back, like a minor backache. No hard belly-tightening.
Because she was far away, I decided to warn my sister-in-law, Angie, the doula extraordinaire, that I may or may not be having contractions. She was farther away than usual, visiting her parents in Sequim for General Conference. Through our text conversation that morning she decided I was in labor, but I still had my doubts. When she asked if she should come before it got dark I told her no. I really wasn’t in much pain at all and didn’t think this could be the real thing. My visiting teacher stopped by with love and a loaf of bread at 12:45 and we both laughed at the thought that I would be having the baby anytime soon, this was nothing. By 1:00, I was convinced that I was right. My little cramps that had been coming every half hour slowed to a stop. My mom and sister decided to come visit that evening and have dinner with us because we hadn’t seen them in awhile and my mom was missing Evelyn.
Steve left for the Priesthood session of conference at 5:00. I decided that I would attempt to pump because it seemed I was already producing milk and I figured I might as well start building up a stash for when I have my surgery. The pumping didn’t go so well- Evelyn was a little too interested in what I was doing, even when I turned on Pocoyo, and so I gave up after about 10 minutes. My mom and sister showed up at about 6:15, and as they arrived I had another “maybe contraction.” By this time I had decided that yes, they were contractions, but no, they weren’t anything to worry about.
Except 15 minutes later I had another one. And 15 minutes after that, another. By the time Steve got home at 7:30, they were coming every 10 minutes but I was still in denial. But by 8:15 they were coming every 7 minutes. My doctor had told me he wanted me to come in when they had been coming every 7 minutes for an hour, but the time between was dropping rapidly and my family wanted me to go. I decided to take a shower and finish packing, and then it was 5 minutes between and I decided that the shower was probably a bad idea and we should just go. Steve let his family know and they left Sequim on what should have been a 4 hour drive to Ellensburg.
So, at 8:57 pm Steve, Liz, and I headed to the hospital, leaving Mom to watch Evelyn. The nurse checked me, said I was only at a 3 (what! I was at a 4 yesterday!), and that she would monitor me for awhile and let the doctor know. I really didn’t want to start labor right then. I was convinced that because my pain was so minimal that they were going to do something to make the contractions stronger and I was afraid it would be Pitocin. Also, I wanted a nap first, I wanted to be rested because I knew how hard it was to push for 4 hours! Luckily (in my mind), my contractions slowed down a lot when I got to the hospital, and even though I continued to dilate, I was able to manage the pain enough that when they asked if I wanted to rest I felt like I could without medication.
Insert: At some point, Steve, Liz, and I walked the halls of the hospital for awhile and I started getting really frustrated with Steve for no reason at all. That was when I decided to take a nap. I can’t remember the timing on this, except that it was before his family arrived.
Although the contractions had slowed down, they did get stronger. Strong enough that at 2:18 am I’d forgotten that getting rest had been my idea and couldn’t figure out how anyone was expecting me to sleep. The Flynn side of the family arrived after a painfully slow drive through a snowy mountain pass, and everyone fell asleep. At 5:00 am I was awake and ready to get going, but I figured I had several hours ahead of me and didn’t feel the need to wake anyone. I walked the halls for about an hour by myself, pausing to lean on the walls when I had contractions. Then I decided I might as well take the shower I’d wanted before I left home. Again, I didn’t wake anyone. I kinda figured the shower would do that, but they were all tired and slept through it. But then I was standing there naked in the bathroom and realized I didn’t know where my clothes were, so I yelled out the door for Steve to get up. He didn’t hear me, but Angie did, and she woke him up enough for him to find my clothes. They were all rather surprised to hear that I’d been up and about for awhile.
Almost immediately after that the doctor came to check again and the contractions got stronger. I called my Mom around 7:00, and she sent Liz back to the hospital. I’d convinced her to go back to my house to sleep since we had a lot of people who needed some rest and not a lot of places.
I certainly remember the pre-pushing part of labor better this time around. I was very uncomfortable, and did a fair share of vomiting and getting too hot and needing water. I changed my position a lot, and I was really confused because the doctor had said to let him know if I felt the urge to push and I was feeling the urge to push, but I didn’t feel like anyone cared. I felt like I’d had a lot of instruction on what to do and how to do it when I was in labor with Evelyn and this time everyone seemed to be waiting on me to make the decisions and I didn’t want to and I didn’t know what to do!
I remember feeling really grateful that Steve was there to push on my back, but irritated when it didn’t work. I felt really grateful when Angie held my puke bag, but irritated when it was too close to my nose and I could smell my puke. Grateful to Mom Flynn and Liz for the water and cold rags, but irritated that I had to tell them when I wanted them. I just wanted everyone to instinctively know what I needed- because I sure didn’t! I don’t remember feeling frustrated about any of the hand holding or foot rubs, though. Around this time my sister in law, Becky, went to my house to watch Evelyn so my Mom could be at the hospital.
I think my mom got there around 9:00, just as I was telling them that I couldn’t not push. It felt like forever waiting for them to take apart the bed and get the stirrups out and all, but it couldn’t have taken long. I was grateful but exhausted when it was time to start pushing, and I had that same feeling like they were all supposed to tell me what exactly to do and no one was telling me. I pushed and focused on not tensing up my face, but my legs were so weak all I could think was that there was no way I could do this. I knew I had hours ahead of me and I had only pushed a couple times and I was totally drained. But then they told me he was coming. I didn’t believe them. I guess that was the running theme for my labor experience. Even though I wanted so desperately to have a different birth experience than I’d had before, I didn’t really believe that I would. So when they told me he was coming, instead of thinking “Okay, I can do this” I was thinking “Stop lying to me, I know I have to do this 100 more times and I don’t want to get my hopes up.”
And then, he was there. Sure, I had to bare down and grit my teeth, and I still ended up popping half the blood vessels in my face and every single one in my arms and shoulders, but I only had to do it about 4 times! Let me tell you, there is a huge difference between pushing 4 times and pushing for 4 hours.
At 9:17 am, the doctor cleared little Mikey’s throat and put my beautiful new son on my chest. I’d never even changed into a gown and had to frantically pull my t-shirt and bra off to avoid the blood, and there he was! When Evelyn was born she didn’t breathe right away and they took her across the room and Steve left to be with her and I had to get rid of the placenta and wait for the doctor to stitch up my episiotomy and everything before they brought her to me. I remember feeling guilty that my strongest feelings were of relief that I was done rather than the excitement of her arrival (of course I was SUPER excited, just incredibly exhausted).
This time I felt like I was able to more fully experience the miracle of childbirth, to be a part of something that felt natural and beautiful and incredibly raw. He was here! It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the sun was streaming through my window, and my little boy had come, healthy and beautiful! I was miserable once they took him to get cleaned and weighed and all that, and the doctor had to stitch my tear and all, but this time I could keep my eyes open (although I couldn’t hold my legs up by myself. Thank you so much, Mom, for staying with me and holding my legs. I needed you and I’m so glad you were there.).
So there you have it. In only one post, the story of Mikey’s birth. Au natural, a totally different story for the birth of a totally different human being. We’re so grateful to have Mikey join our family, and look forward to meeting the rest of our children and telling you all about it.
P.S. My hernia never even came up as an issue at all during the delivery. I had been told it shouldn’t be a problem, but I had doubted that, too. I’m grateful now to be lifting not only one baby, but two, and for the pain relief that came with Mikey’s birth. My hernia repair surgery is scheduled for May 8, 2012.
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