My First pregnancy and labor vs my Second - How my experience left me clueless
Let me start off by saying we have a toddler under 2 and were blessed to find out that we were pregnant again when our dear son was only 7 months, despite him being breastfed-( which apparently should decrease your chances.)- we did actually want another baby and we didn't believe that the covid19 virus was going to last this long so we were not that stressed at the time when we found out in May 2020.
Being a new mom to a 7 month baby and pretty much remembering everything about my dear sons pregnancy and birth, I honestly felt I had it in the bag and I knew it all...- How to cope with the pregnancy symptoms, Mentally prepare myself for all the trimesters and do things better, especially eat better and not pick up over 25kg -( as I still had to loose the baby weight from my dear son's pregnancy and now I'm pregnant again LOL.) I knew my research and my first hand experience with natural birth, so I just needed a brushed up on C-section just encase of an emergency.
LITTLE DID I KNOW...
From the start it was different, even before I knew the sex of the baby I had my suspicions as I was nausea and vomiting non stop. Now I had nausea with my son but this was on another level... I could barely eat so where was all this coming from... I felt so sick and weak for the entire 1st trimester and YES its a GIRL (not going to lie I had a bit of gender disappointment and took me a few weeks to settle in the fact I'm having a girl, mostly because I myself am a bit of a tom boy and I see myself coping better with boys and the bruises and dirt, girly things and pink things not so much.... )
We had a lot of stress but I coped well for a pregnant woman, with my sons pregnancy I was a time bomb and yes I blame testosterone for that hehehe. In the middle of the pandemic we moved 3 times from April till December, My company closed down and had to pay off debt I didn't know how, We had to rely on friends and family for financial and physical support as my husband worked on the ships and he was not allowed to work in my country without a visa. So we decided lets move back to his country, so we worked with the Israeli embassy from June till December. Through lots of struggles We finally made it here on the last week I could fly week 36... we had 5 days to pack up and leave... on top of that our baby was now a toddler under 2 with his own views on what he wants and how he wants it and wont give up without a fight. SOOOO you can imagine the flight from South Africa to Israel with a lovely layover without a stroller in Ethiopia - BUT I will discuss this in another topic.
So finally in Israel and fully pregnant cant look after my toddler as I cant even touch my knees at this point... I AM HUGE lol. We decided to go government route, the hospitals here are like private hospitals in South Africa I was really impressed.
The last few weeks of my pregnancy - I was getting really insane Braxton hicks, with my son I didn't have them as bad they just felt like period cramps, this pregnancy they felt like real contractions just were not constant, we went to check them out and found out at 38 week nothing to worry about and only 1 cm Dilated which is nothing right.
So lets talk about my sons labour. Very simple was very tired but could barley sleep few nights before, and had diarrhoea. The morning of 22 Sep 2019, 38weeks pregnant around about 4am woke up to go pee for the 100th time as usual for any pregnant woman, and I didn't stop peeing it was a leak and I thought ok maybe my bladder, so I put a pad on and went back to bed. As I sat in bed it got worse told hubby water has broke I took a nice shower and put on make up got in the car, by the time I got to the hospital I was gashing there was a river following me and I was the waterfall hahahaha. So in short no contractions and only 1 cm dilated and told to walk around for a while so put on a adult diaper which by the way I live by as best labor hack EVER! By the time it was 2pm I still had no contractions and was not dilating so they gave me oxytocin drip to set on contractions and will increase the dosage every 30min, was bouncing on a ball, finally lost my plug and started feeling light contractions like period pain, drew a bath and relaxed while hubby was keeping me company. the nurses kept checking up and increasing the dosage and I remember my mind switching off at some point and I was making animal sounds because of the pain when I came by I said epidural the pain was nothing like period pain more like back ache and period pain while someone kicked you sideways up into your pelvis x 1000... so when they say you will know when you have strong contractions its basically at the point you have no control over your mind and your body and you don't know where to hold onto when you get the contractions. They gave me the epidural and within a few min I felt great I ate half a chicken mayo sandwich and couldn't feel my legs... it was if my legs were not my own it was amazing to touch them and not feel a thing. The nurses checked up on me around 5pm and said I'm 8cm and switched off the epidural and started preparing me physically and mentally and said baby is still high up and they know I cant feel much but I need to push down or I will have to have a C section, they coached me for a bit and said to imagine having a poo and this really helped. I did a good enough job to have natural birth with a vacuum as baby was quite tired and drowsy. So for the remainder of the birth when I felt half a contraction due to the epidural still in my body -( one of my legs were still lame and one was awake) I would imagine the pushing as if I was making a poo, I made a lot of uncomfortable faces but I didn't scream once.
18:06 my baby boy was born 3.5kgs after 14 hour labour, which I felt I went through the stages and felt mentally prepared for what is to come next and it was relaxing and most part not that painful either as I was medicated.
So you would think this experience would help me with my second birth right? HELL NO... It wasn't nearly the same!!!!
19 Jan 2021 I'm already at 40weeks I'm running around with hubby trying to get things done for visa purposes and we get to the bank, after 10ish I have a bit of a show and I have very slight cramping. so I tell him ok I think its time we need to go to the hospital. So we go home fetch the bag get to the hospital, but I'm not in a lot of pain just very light back cramps that's constant and slight period cramps that come and go, but because of the Braxton hicks for the past few weeks I cant be sure what's going on and I feel clueless. The only thing I can go on is the show. So we wait to see the doctor they say everything is fine, I have just lost my plug and I'm only 2 cm and as if I want them to do a sweep, so I agree as I know it will bring on labour within 24-48 hours "according to what I have read". Also its not medicated induction ( at this point your point in the pregnancy your diet is dates and spicy fool and your walking and squatting to get the baby to come.) so we finally get home just after 2pm and I don't feel to well and I go laydown, I'm feeling cramps so I just listen to music and keep to myself my husband leaves for work about 6pm and I'm getting worse, I chat with a friend who is an awesome knows everything about birth mommy because I just feel so lost and I don't want to go back to the hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. She confirms what I know that I'm in labour but how far I don't know.
I'm starting to make noises and I'm standing on my toes and I call my husband to come home and its only 7pm. by now I'm timing contraction they about 4min apart 50s long and I'm crying with contractions but not when they are subside... all I can think of is that I properly look like harlequin in labor lol completely crazy. my husband comes home, by now I have to stop every few min so I can pass a contraction and they getting so much worse. We get to the hospital after a painful car ride and its about 7.20pm. I'm making so much noise they let hubby complete paper work and take me to a check-up room so they can see if baby is ok and how far dilated... GUESS WHAT- ONLY FREAKEN 2CM!!!! I'm screaming for pain medication, I cant handle the contractions I'm holding onto the rails of the bed straining to get through them... my favourite word is NO NO NO NO as I'm feeling the wave of each contraction starting. At this point I'm wishing I went to some type of Lamaze class and wish the nurses could speak better English but I'm in Israel and its not their first language... they are doing their best to communicate.
The nurses tell my husband that the baby girl is 80% effaced and ready to come out but cervix is 2cm and I have to wait till 4 cm to be moved to delivery... so we wait 30min which feels like forever when you screaming of pain. Finally they willing to move me 3.5cm as I'm properly making animal sound at this point, but now they want me to get up into a wheel chair to get to delivery.. oh my gosh it was terrible and painful I think my contractions were about 2min apart at this point hahaha. We get into delivery and I need to get up onto the bed... all of these tasks feel impossible at this point. I get on the bed, they need me to put on a delivery gown and they taking a covid test node and throat. I cant explain how irritated I am and in how much pain...one of the nurses want me to sign paperwork and I can barley see and focus now I need to sign I felt like putting an X lol. After signing I have 2 contractions the 3rd one I scream as I feel myself open and the ring of fire "THE BABY IS COMING!" in the time it took to get me from the check room to delivery I went fully dilated 3 pushes and the baby came out and my water broke.
wow I was so relieved even though I still needed to give birth to placenta I was so happy not to feel the intense pain of the contractions and held my beautiful baby girl in my arms AKA our little bullet... I was exhausted it was the toughest longest hour of my entire life, it was honestly the most painful stressful thing I have been through and I wish I was more prepared somehow, as I would have breathed differently and handled the pain better, but I was set on knowing better and having experience and thought it would be the same if not better than the first time.
So the moral of the story- Every Birth is Different, Every pregnancy is different, Every Child is different... and just when you think you know what to expect when you expecting or going into labor be prepared to know absolutely nothing...
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as it was therapeutic writing it... please share your experience with us as you could be helping someone just as clueless as I was.
A special thanks goes out to Elayne Olver my go to mamma <3