My second birth was quite different from my first one. I had everything I had learned in my first pregnancy under my belt, and I was ready to go. I was also in a new city, and needed to locate a new midwife. I was careful to interview her at the beginning, making sure we would be on the same page about things that were important to me. There was no partner midwife in the picture this time, and I made sure to write up a birth plan and talk about it with my new midwife – whose name was Toni. This was to be another midwife attended hospital birth; that’s what I’ve done with all my births, and have been pretty happy with it. I have often thought of going for a home birth…I always say, with each baby, that I’m going to do it this time. But, for a variety of reasons, I never have. These days, while I would still consider a home birth under the right circumstances, I am pretty content with the hospital. I have a good midwife, and an excellent hospital which is very baby and mom friendly, and actually assumes a natural approach unless otherwise indicated. That, and the room service brings the most interesting and tasty meals in…not that I recommend you choose a birthing location based on who’s got the best food. Sure doesn’t hurt, though…
Anyway, my labor with Anna started at 5 am – precisely the same time as it had begun with Erin. This time, though, the contractions were wildly irregular and erratic, going from strong and close together to very weak and up to 20 minutes apart, or even more. I spent most of that day wondering whether I was really in labor or not! (As it turns out, this is a trick my body really enjoys pulling on me. More in future birth stories…) I called the midwife, who suggested I eat and take a nap, and see what happened.
So, I napped, and I walked, and hung around, till around 4pm, when another confused call to the midwife led to my deciding to go in to her office and get checked, before she went home for the day. As it turned out, though I was cheerful, chatty, and starting to really be pretty sure that this was not to be the big day…I was dilated to 8 (yes, 8) centimeters!! The nurses were shocked – I neglected to tell them I had already been checked, and they admitted me thinking I was really early in my labor. When I finally thought to mention it I inspired a flurry of activity to gather all the birth paraphernalia…which got to sit there looking lonely, for quite a few more hours.
It ended up taking until midnight for Anna to make her debut – those were some very long hours, in between. The birth really couldn’t have been much better, though – the only lesson I took away to improve for next time was to pay more attention to my emotional signs of labor. I may have been way dilated, but I was still emotionally in early labor. Understanding that would have helped me not be shocked and dismayed at how much farther I still had to go. But knowing my midwife better, and having a solid birth plan, went a long way to helping me have another good, natural labor and birth. Most of all, though, I am thankful to God for everything going so smoothly with no major complications. I have been extraordinarily blessed in that with all my babies, and I do not ever want to take that for granted!