Leo's birth story
11 hours of labor
10 minutes of pushing
7 lb, 6 oz.
Apgar 9 and 9
Born Tuesday, November 6, at 3:52 p.m.
I'd been having the odd contraction before then -- fewer than ten per day -- but I woke up at 5 a.m. on the 6th in labor. At first I wasn't sure if they were labor contractions or just stomach cramps, in part because I was feeling the sensation in front. Then I realized that they were labor contractions, and that unlike last time, it wasn't back labor, and hopefully the baby was in a good position. Hooray! At this point the contractions were fairly frequent -- every 5 minutes or so -- but very short, about 15 seconds long. I showered, had a small bowl of cereal, and helped a bit at wrangling my 3-year-old. We called the doula, and waited for her to arrive before my husband took our son to babysitter's.
It was 8 a.m. before she arrived, and then it was 9:30 before my husband was back home. During this time the contractions got stronger, but were more spaced out. At one point I even took a 15-minute nap on the couch between contractions. I think my body knew that my husband wasn't home, and slowed down to wait for him. Once he got back, the contractions became more frequent, but never settled down into a real pattern. I was doing squats during contractions. By noon, I had to work a bit more with them -- swaying my hips and vocalizing.
Around 1:30 my contractions became more intense, and were coming every 2-3 minutes. Suddenly I was in transition, despite earlier contractions not being in a pattern. So we went to the hospital, which meant dealing with three or four contractions in the car, ugh. I still felt mostly fine when we got there, except during contractions, but I guess it was apparent to everyone there that the baby was coming ASAP. They got me into a L&D room, and I tried to answer admission questions between contractions, which was interesting. A midwife did a cervical check, noting that I was at 7 cm with a bulging bag of waters, and that once my water broke I'd be at 10 cm. A few contractions later, my water broke.
I'd been laying on my side to deal with contractions while they did some fetal monitoring, but then I got on my hands and knees (with the upper portion of the bed raised up). I had two contractions that I really felt some bearing down on, and then two contractions where I really pushed. There was definitely some burning during the pushing -- in part because my scar from last time didn't hold, and I tore again -- but Leo came out after only about 8 minutes of pushing! It's amazing what perfect positioning will get you. (I maybe should have gone a bit slower, and then perhaps I wouldn't have torn so badly, but it is so hard to not push with all your might at that point.) The nurses and midwife helped turn me over and handed him to me. Apparently right before he was born they'd guessed his weight to be only 6 or 6-and-a-half pounds, so they were pretty surprised that he was 7 lb 6 oz! Ha! I held him while they stitched me up (a third degree tear -- hey, not as bad as the fourth degree from last time!) and nursed him. He latched on right away, which was awesome.
It was less than an hour and a half from arriving at the hospital to him being born. I do not necessarily recommend this, because there was a lot of chaos when I arrived.
In a nice small world connection, the midwife who delivered him is good friends with the mother of the woman who was our doula for our first child!
About two hours after Leo was born, I had a postpartum hemorrhage, and it was pretty much a textbook presentation of it. (Uterine atony. I also had "a lot" of bleeding after my first child was born, but it wasn't at PPH levels -- I think it was at most 400 mL lost -- so I'm not sure if that was enough to increase my risk for PPH this time.) Treating it required an IV of pitocin, a shot of something in my thigh, and some rectally-administered cytotec. (And one other intervention, listed in the gory detail section). I lost a bit over 1 liter of blood, and they typed my blood in case I needed a transfusion, but my vital signs remained stable and my blood count was juuuust high enough that I was able to get by with fluids in the IV. It was scary for my husband while it was happening -- suddenly there were lots of people in the room dealing with it -- and at the time I was a bit out of it, but in retrospect it was pretty scary. Also, recovering from that much blood loss sucked.
The other thing they had to do when this happened was manually clean the blood clots out of my uterus. OW. They gave me some fentanyl in my IV before they did this, but it was worse than childbirth itself. OMG.
I consider myself very lucky in that I've had two mostly-positive labor and delivery experiences. And I'm kind of delighted that I did manage to give birth entirely intervention-free! However. While my husband and I had long-since decided that we only wanted at most two kids, now I am absolutely certain that I am done. My pregnancies were both easy, and childbirth -- especially the second time round -- is not the most difficult, painful, or strenuous thing I've done in my life. The PPH, however, was pretty awful, and knowing that I'd be at risk for another one is scary. My family has donated to Life for African Mothers, due to my experience.
(For reference, here is the birth story from my older son's birth.)