WARNING: Possibly graphic/disgusting information follow. Read at your own risk of visions burned on the insides of your eyelids.
This is getting long, so it'll be colour coded. Blue is background information. Purple is early birth story. Dark red is actual birth story. Black is just nonsense/other. Why do you read this blog anyway?
I knew what to expect and I didn't know what was going to happen. It was an odd feeling, going into labour the second time. I was more aware of what happens in my body, having already experienced the most deep and horrendous pain imaginable (and that's saying something. I've had some painful times before childbirth). Seriously, if it wasn't for the baby at the end, birth would suck. Knowing that that pain is coming back is not a delightful wait. You lie to yourself a little. "Maybe it wasn't so bad. Maybe, I'm stronger and I'll be able to do this without any drugs at all! Maybe I'll sneeze and it will all be over." No. That's not how it works and I have one word to let you know why.
For weeks leading up to my second son's birth, I had terrible back pain. I couldn't sleep well which made life very difficult especially when our elder son (hereinafter "big fellow") was having extremely painful times and difficulty sleeping due to cracking a mean ol' molar.
One moment whilst I shake my head in an attempt to organize my thoughts. I'm still a wee bit tired and decaf don't help. Yeah, I said don't. I appear to have lost my ability to write. Sad.
I was tired and worn out, in constant pain. Backache is pretty standard in pregnancy and I assumed that the extreme backache was due to sometimes carrying my 13+ kg son, big fellow, around. When he hurts, he sometimes wants a bit more cuddling. Me too, actually. I'd had one pregnancy massage and was keen to go for a second, booked for next Tuesday.
I was impatient, waiting for my sister to give birth already after being in labour for a week. Really, I was upset that she was constantly in pain and (at the back of my head) worried that I would get stuck in labour for a week too.
I woke up at 1 am, on Saturday the 8th. My back was incredibly sore. I assumed it was due to the usual, plus running around like a crazy person, trying to get ready for the baby and make three soups for the workshop on that day at the church. I was in so much back pain, I couldn't sleep. This was pretty standard. There was a different kind of pain attached this time and it seemed to come and go. "Oh, dear," I mused, "I think I'm labour." They weren't bad contractions, though so I attempted to sleep, hoping they'd stop. I was awake until 4 am.
I finally fell back to sleep and the day started. Big fellow is an early riser. We got everything over to the church for the workshop. I realized that I still had a lot of set up to do and I gleefully did it. It felt good to be running around, organizing and setting things up. I ran to and fro our house, getting supplies until everything was ready.
At lunchtime, I took our son home for nap. Whilst there, I had a bloody show.
If you know what a bloody show is, I don't need to explain it and if you don't, you probably don't want to know. Needless to say, my theory is blood + pregnancy = going to the hospital. So, we pulled a friendly friend from the workshop and Adrian and I went to the hospital. Sure, enough, I was in labour, but only one cm. I could feel contractions but they were very mild and infrequent. It made me wonder if last time I'd been in labour much longer, but just hadn't noticed. Now, being more in tune with that sort of thing, perhaps I was picking up on it earlier. The midwife sent us home. It was kind of nice. I had the chance to shave my legs and get some things done at home as well as spend some good quality time with my eldest. That was good!
That evening, Adrian had decided to go to youth group and I decided to fold laundry. Approximately three and a half minutes after he left, my water broke. As last time was fast, we decided to get to the hospital.
We had attempted MANY times that day to get ahold of the lady who had volunteered to watch our eldest whilst our youngest was being born, but no dice. This is a nice example of how God blessed. Because I'd gone to the hospital earlier in the day, pretty much every lady who was at the workshop offered to take or watch our eldest! We asked one to come stay at our house, as our eldest was already asleep.
At this point, I was three cms and contractions were probably 7 minutes apart. They hooked me up to the machine and it seemed on the machine that they were more like 4 minutes or less apart.
Oh, yes. It's always awkward when someone checks dilation.
We stuck around and by 11, the contractions got quite intense. Active labour probably started around midnight. Between contractions, I was making jokes. It got harder and harder to joke and I started climbing the walls. Not literally. I did climb the bed though. It was like an aerobics class with the amount of position changes, wandering and climbing I did.
Labour hurts and I wanted to do it without drugs. My back felt like it was going to break in half constantly. They gave Adrian a massage tool to use on my back and I got him to press incredibly hard. He was shocked as I usually prefer gentle massage. The next day I had bruises all over my back from the massage tool, but at the time that was relief! The one midwife tried to heat a hot bag for me and ended up setting it on fire, so the labour room smelled like burnt wheat. It kind of made me hungry. They kept me drinking water, so I kept going to the bathroom. It seemed like the toilet and my uterus were in cahoots as every time I went there, I had the worst contractions, many of them in a row.
My water broke again. Apparently it had been the hind waters before and now the fore waters broke.
I was in so much pain. Gripping things seemed to help in contractions and I grasped at the edge of the bed, the rails, chairs, Adrian, everything that was in reach. I needed to bite things. I bit the bed. Adrian (but just the once), Adrian gave me his clean hanky. I gnawed on that poor thing. I bit his belt (it was leather and seriously, I was in odd positions, throwing myself about the room, on the birthing chair, the bed, a ball, walking). The leather was good to bite. Around 2:30/3, I'd given in and asked for gas, but for the first 20 minutes it wasn't working. It turned out that it wasn't on. By 3:30, I was fully dilated and felt the need to push, but it just wasn't happening. Last time, I was so excited to get through transition, but this felt worse. I needed to push, but I could feel that my child wasn't moving. It's like he was stuck. The midwives moved me around the birthing suite, trying different positions. I wanted to quit. I was done. My back felt broken and then further abused with broken glass or barbed wire.
It turns out that he was stuck. In a posterior birth, the child's spine and the mother's spine rub against each other and cause the most terrible pain. Much, much worse than my first birth. Then his head did get stuck as the position causes the neck to go back, not tuck under. All the time they moved me about the room, they were trying to jiggle him free. Eventually he did turn in the birth canal and come out the way he was supposed to - without any modelling on his head!
Pushing and pushing and pushing. It felt useless and frustrating with little gain. Eventually, they started seeing the head, but it still felt slow. Then the head was at the point for little pushes, after an hour of pushing, when suddenly BOOM! There was an explosion. And it started from me!?!
Part of the amniotic sac had gotten twisted up with fluid and as my youngest's head started to come out (finally, thank God), the sac got compressed and exploded, shooting across the room. It was an odd feeling. And then, oh, the best feeling. I pushed his head out, then his shoulders. Our second son was born and all of the pain vanished. All of the frustration and confusion and feelings of uselessness as that beautiful child was on my chest. He's so beautiful. So wonderful. My heart expanded and life felt great and even greater when the placenta went bye-bye (I think it had been in an uncomfortable place too).
Adrian was so helpful and wonderful during the whole thing. The one midwife commented on how good he was to me, how we worked together. God blessed us in many ways, including when the cild was born, less than a day after his cousin. Because of the workshop, there was a visiting pastor and Adrian didn't have to lead service exhausted beyond belief.
Through the labour, there got to be points so bad, that all I could do was pray for mercy. And I did. And God is merciful. And then, with our son on my chest, all I could do was say thanks.
I'm still saying thanks.