You have to read Story Number One first before you read this one!
Lucy's birth was traumatic for me and now that I was pregnant with baby number two, I was torn about what to do. I had learned so much about natural birth and its benefits and knew that it was important for many reasons. I did not want to end up screaming and freaking out for an hour again, so I was debating whether to take natural childbirth classes or sign up right away for an epidural.
I chatted with Jill, the Bradley method instructor, and Amity, one of my La Leche League leaders, and told them my story. Their compassion and understanding went a long way toward helping me feel better about it all. One of things that stood out to me is Jill saying that every birth is different. She suggested that maybe my water wouldn't break again and that might help labor not to be as fast and intense. We decided to go ahead with the Bradley classes knowing that I had to at least try again for a natural birth. I convinced myself that this second time could be different and maybe I could make it through.
The classes were wonderful. I learned so much about nutrition, exercise, and pregnancy. Each class left me feeling more and more like pregnancy was a normal natural event and that my body could do this. Ross felt more prepared this time and learned how to help me relax. Having him attend classes each week helped me to feel very supported. Jill even offered to come to my birth if I was starting to freak out and felt like I needed her there. Ross and I talked about the birth a lot and he was great about building my confidence.
Then... 2 weeks and 2 days before my due date, at 5:00 pm, my water broke. All I could think was "here we go again." I called Jill and told her that my water had broken and we were on our way to the hospital. She was headed to a boy scout event with her kids and told me she would call and check on me later. We called my mother in law to come watch the girls. She didn't believe I was in labor at first because none of us were expecting a baby this soon! From here, things quickly got intense again.
My labor was hard and fast, not at all the different that I had hoped for. Ross was great about helping me through the contractions. I got in the shower for a while, and asked to use the hot tub or birthing ball, but both of those were in use. The crazy thing was that I had not discussed my birth plan with my doctor yet, and we had some things planned that I wasn't sure were going to be okay with the hospital. (We wanted to deny the vitamin K shot, eye ointment, etc.) My doctor was not on call, so I had his partner whom I had never even met. In the middle of my intense labor Ross and I were trying to explain to him that we want to wait to cut the cord and other things about our birth plan. He said that he normally doesn't do that, but was willing. Another funny thing is that I ended up with the same nurse that I had slapped away from me during my last birth. I mentioned something about it to her and said that I would not slap her this time. She was very sweet and when we talked about our birth plan with her to my surprise she was fine with everything on it.
Labor continued to be very intense with contractions coming hard and fast. At one point when things were just too much for me to handle, I told Ross to go ask the nurse if I could just start pushing. To my surprise the nurse checked me and said that yes, I could go ahead and push. Julia was born just three hours after my water had broken. I did not have any drugs or medical interventions other than a tear being stitched up afterwards. When it was all over and Ross and I were enjoying our baby girl, the phone rang in our room. It was Jill calling to check on me. Ross answered the phone and told her I was doing great and asked if she would like to talk to me. I told her that I was holding my new baby girl and that I had succeeded in my goal of having a natural childbirth! She was bummed to have completely missed the birth, but excited for me.
In the end, I'm glad that my second labor was so intense. It was very redeeming to go through almost the same exact scenario as the first time (water breaking at 5:00 pm, intense hard labor, same nurse, etc.) but to have made it through. The Bradley classes and preparation this time around had really helped. I felt much more in control of this birth and was happy with the choices we had made.
My third birth will be different still. We are planning a home birth with a midwife. After denying everything in the hospital, I started to wonder why I even went there to birth at all. I have several friends who have had home births and there is a wonderful midwife here in the area who had delivered almost 2,000 babies over 28 years of practice. I've loved all of my prenatal visits with her and am excited for the birth. Check back in the next couple of weeks for Story Number Three! I'll also be posting more of my thoughts about home birth soon.