Baby number two was projected to arrive on December 31, 2017, but given that our first child came five days after her due date, I was prepared to have another post-term baby. The 31st came and went as did most of the 1st. That night at around eight, though, as I lay in bed reading about "late" deliveries, the first contractions began. They were about ten--sometimes 6 or 8-- minutes apart. When the first one hit, I mentioned it to my husband, then went back to my reading since the pain was minimal and they were not close together. Fast forward to around 11/11:30 and the contractions were much closer together. I' m vague on the exact intervals at this point but probably 1 or 2 minute. Mentally I was still thinking that it was only the beginning and that I had a long/night/day ahead of me--even with contractions coming that close together.
Me and my 2-year-old on January 1, doing our usual beach thing. We didn't know that in less than 24 hours the new baby would be here!
By 12:30 am it was pretty intense. Really intense. But with our first I'd gone to the hospital too soon and was sent right on back home. I was not prepared to or willing to go through that again. (And unfortunately my desired home birth didn't come into fruition this time around either. *siiigh*) So, even though the contractions were so close, and the pain was serious, I encouraged my man to go back to bed. I wanted him and our toddler to get as much sleep as possible. "Sleep til five, I said. Looking back on it, though, we should have been on our way at least around 1:00.
So, they slept, and I moaned--even yelled out at times. The brief moments between each contraction gave me hope. It was rough. Pain and pressure. Pressure, like, I'm-ready-to-push-right-now pressure. I even felt the need to vomit at one point. I'd read about this in a book and knew it was significant. My only inclination, though, was to lie on the couch and moan and yell as needed and try to make it til five. I just wanted to wait til five. The main reasons why were trivial, but that was the time I was focused on. One of the reasons that wasn't so trivial was that I felt that by five I could muster up the energy to get off the couch, get dressed, and make it out the door. I needed those next few hours to lie down in order to make that happen at my chosen time.
Now. I'd been discussing with a neighbor of mine the idea of laboring at home as long as possible to avoid some of the issues that might arise at the hospital if I did most of my laboring there. Although I wanted to consciously adhere to that plan, I believe I did so subconsciously. If the energy had been there for me to get up and head to the hospital around 1:00, we would have been on our way. But I just couldn't do it.
Five came. My husband got up and got dressed and got our toddler up and dressed as I called out things for him to get/do from the couch. Then, during one of the very brief breaks between a contraction, I managed to put on a dress, a light sweater, some shoes. Once that was done, I had to get back on the couch for a long while. Then, another contraction break came, and we made the effort to get to the car. On the way I had to take two or three breaks. Seemed like the contraction were only 30 seconds apart at that point.
We made it to the car. Somehow it was already after six.
I reclined in the passenger's seat, and we began our journey from the far west side of O'ahu to our chosen hospital in Honolulu. This is typically a one hour drive without traffic. With traffic, it could easily take two hours. Traffic on O'ahu has got to be some of the worst, but thankfully we'd left just early enough to avoid the work crowd going west to east.
We made it to the hospital about five minutes before seven. All the technicalities were taken care of, and I was ready to PUSH. I had been ready. I was asked if I needed an epidural and was told that if I did it needed to be performed right away, because the baby would soon be out. An epidural was the last thing I wanted (or needed). My only thought was, "If someone's gonna assist in this delivery, they'd better get on post, cause I'm 'bout to start doing my part." The baby was already at work.
By 7:21 she was here! First thing on a Monday morning. If we'd waited another thirty minutes to an hour, I probably would have given birth in the car. Traffic would have been ridiculous by then.
It was fast, to the point, and phenomenal. And I love how once it's over, the pain disappears just like that. The general consensus seems to be that all babies after the first come much more quickly or that labor is much shorter. That was certainly my experience. With my first, it seemed like it would never end. I'm talking days of contractions and pain. (You may notice that there are three parts to my first birth story.) This second time around it took less that twelve hours from start to finish. Thank goodness for that!
Images taken shortly after birth.