To set the stage – and my expectations – when it came to baby number 2, it’s kind of essential to know how baby 1 went (you can read that here).
Short version? I went into labour 9 days before my due date and had 2.5 hours of contractions/pushing before baby was born (but was given ample notice of the impending arrival when my water broke 3 hours before contractions started).
My take-home from this at the time? I’d likely go into labour ‘early’ and it would be quick. Spoiler: I was half right.
Since I hadn’t gotten any time off of work before my first, this time I went off work 3 weeks before my due date. This was a mistake. By the Wednesday (day 3) I had cleaned my house top to bottom and was READY. Baby was not.
My due date came and went. It sounds ridiculous, but waiting for a baby is so, so hard! Every day you wonder ‘if it’s it’. And it’s not. And you’re still waddling. There were so many false starts with this one. One night around my due date I had a full hour of contractions 5-7 minutes apart that fizzled away to nothing.
Anyways, I was due on a Saturday and the following Wednesday morning I went to see my midwife for my regular appointment and second ‘stretch and sweep’. I was now 4 days past my due date.
She said I was more than 4 cm dilated, that my cervix was super soft, and that she ‘stretched me to 5’. With lots of show and cramping immediately afterwards, I was told by my midwife and another listening in that I’d likely go into labour that night. I texted my aunt who is an OBGYN and she thought that night or the next morning. As the cramping continued, I called my sister and her boyfriend to come over ‘just in case’ so they could watch our toddler.
I spent the day bouncing on an exercise ball as the cramps came and went with no regularity. After my toddler was in bed I went for my big daily (usually twice daily at that point) walk in an effort to evict baby. I was looking pretty pregnant (I’m not tall and this baby was not small) and neighbours would call out to ask my due date and issue apologies as I shouted back ‘FOUR DAYS AGO!’
My sister and her boyfriend left the Thursday, baby clearly wasn’t quite ready. On Friday night my husband and I settled in to watch Netflix and eat spicy Indian takeout. I was texting with my sisters and one of them suggested that maybe this baby was waiting for the next day, April 30th, to be born. April 30th is the anniversary of the death of my much-loved grandfather who had died 7 years earlier. That thought hadn’t occurred to me for some reason, I’d been so convinced this baby would come early, I never thought we’d get to April 30th. And when my sister said that, something clicked, and I realized that’s exactly what was going to happen. Yes, I realize this is a bit hippy dippy, but hey, can’t be all science all the time!
The next morning at around 5:15 am I woke to go to the bathroom and realized my water had broken. Not the big ‘like-the-movies’ gush I had with my first, but the slow leak I had been told was more common. I called my sister (a different one, there are 3!) who answered the phone ‘is it baby time?!’. I said I thought so and she said she’d be on her way shortly.
Our toddler was still asleep, so we gathered up our bags and I called my midwife. My contractions hadn’t started yet, but I was eager to get going because I knew things would move quickly once they did. She happened to already be at the hospital, having just helped deliver a baby.
I explained that my water broke, and she suggested I take a shower to see what happened, see if labour would begin, before deciding to come to the hospital. I found this so funny, because my whole pregnancy, this midwife had been very aware of how quickly my first birth had gone and that I was anxious about making it to the hospital (this would be a theme with my 3rd baby too!). I told her I just wanted to get to the hospital so we were going to leave as soon as my sister arrived. My sister arrived a few minutes later, I had my first contraction as I paced the living room, and we got into the car. It was 6:15 am.
My contractions got really intense, really fast, once we were in the car. I put the passenger seat all the way back so I could lie as flat as possible (hot tip from my doula – over-extend your stomach, like your arching backwards, and your contractions will feel better). The bumps in the road were terrible and I kept asking my husband to slow down going over them – little did I know, he was, and at times we were barely moving!
He dropped me off at the hospital doors and I laboured alone in the empty lobby while I waited for him. It was 6:28 am. We then made our way to admissions, which is where my second midwife spotted us. She took one look at me, told admissions I’d have to be admitted later, and instructed us to grab an elevator as she ran (literally) up the stairs to start prepping for us.
When we arrived in labour and delivery, I was in the thick of labour. A lot had changed since that phone call 20 minutes ago and my midwife couldn’t believe it. I said I had to go to the bathroom, I did, and came out and declared I felt the urge to push. They told me to get on the bed.
I did that as my two midwives and my husband prepped for deliver (they literally were asking him to open things for them!). I laboured on all fours and soon enough was pushing. My water broke (not a leak anymore!) and there was meconium in my water (which basically means baby pooped before birth and it can be a sign of distress. It’s more common in babies who are past due – and I was exactly 7 days past). They called in a respiratory therapist to be in the room for delivery in case the baby ended up inhaling the meconium and amniotic fluid during the birth.
I remained on all fours and baby was born shortly after. I couldn’t see what was happening but he (it was a he!) was born blue and quiet. Fortunately, he hadn’t inhaled any fluid and a vigorous rub down got him going really quickly and he pinked right up. Everyone thought baby must have just been a little stunned from his quick arrival!
He was born at 6:56 am. Just 28 minutes after we had arrived, and about 40 minutes after my first contraction. He was a big 9 lbs 3 oz, a far cry from the 6 lb 13 oz peanut a few years before.
His first name is the name of my husband’s paternal grandfather, for a few years we got to have two humans around of the same first and last name born 94 years apart. And his middle name is my maternal grandfather’s, the one we lost exactly seven years before his birth.
Adjusting to life with two was so much easier than life with one. Your first is a shock to the system, at least it was for me. And my first was a hard baby in a lot of ways. Our number 2 was the happiest laid-back baby to exist (until our number 3 came along). Nursing him was a breeze from the first latch. And he remains our bright, happy kiddo 4 years later.