Check out my version of this experience here: http://themommystories-friends.blogspot.com/2014/04/labor-and-delivery-love-story.html
All photos from Amanda McCarty
1.What happened the day your baby was born? Did your water break, and if so, where were you, how did that feel? Who took you to the hospital? What helped you during labor (ice chips? music? etc.)? Any funny or scary stories about the labor itself or the birth? How long was your labor, start to finish? This labor surprised me so much, especially compared to my son's labor. His was a horrendous ordeal, something I never would want to experience again. But with my daughter, baby #2, it was so fast!
I was scheduled to be induced the evening before my due date because of gestational diabetes and she was measuring pretty big. Luckily, I had signs of labor that morning, and went about my day normally with a few mild contractions/cramps, the normal stuff. Mostly I just ignored it. I cooked a little, cleaned a little, spent some one-on-one time with my son, rested some. I was very anxious to get to the hospital and get the labor really going. So, at 5pm on Thursday March, 27, we headed in to have the baby!
On the car ride there, I started getting very nervous. Nervous to be away from Atticus for the longest I'd ever been away from him, nervous for the pain, nervous to become a parent of two.
But I had a mission: get this baby out, as quickly as possible. All the nurses laughed that I was the happiest woman in labor they'd ever seen because in between contractions I was laughing and smiling at my sister and husband, who were extremely entertaining.
Once I was really dilating, they broke my water to get things moving even more and it sped things up immensely. I knew I wanted an epidural, but wanted to wait as long as possible to get it, so I held off until I couldn't take it anymore. Once I got the epidural, like with my son, I could still feel my left hip (for some reason, this happened twice now) which turned out to be a good thing. They wanted me to sleep for a few hours before pushing, so they tucked me in, a smile on my face from the numbing power of the epidural, closed my eyes, and no sooner did my hip hurt and the shakes set in, that I knew it was time.
I was so thankful to have my sister there, because she was able to get photos of my first moments with my baby girl and I didn't have those with my son, but wished I had. Delivery can be a blur, and I wanted to remember everything, so having the photos of her being put on my chest for that first time, meeting dad, etc. were truly a gift.
2. What did you pack in your hospital bag? What did you forget to pack that you recommend pregnant moms to be pack in theirs?
I didn't pack a ton. Some comfy clothes, my robe and slippers, my makeup, facewash, lotion. The essentials. I was so happy to have my iPad with me for after the birth, while I was in the hospital (which wasn't long at all, about a day and half). Thing I forgot: nursing pads!
3. What was the best part about your hospital stay (besides meeting your little one of course)?
The best part was having my husband, mom and sister there. There was something really comforting about having them be such a part of our welcoming Ada into the world. It was so special that they were able to be experience Ada's arrival from the sidelines.
My husband was amazing through labor, and seeing his reaction to his daughter being born, and his encouraging words as I was pushing was amazing. Because it was so fast, I think he was a little in awe of it all. I remember him saying, "she's here, honey! How did that already happen?" and thinking the same thing!
I also enjoyed the binge eating of carbs after ridding myself of gestational diabetes! I had gluten free Italian cookies, my favorite take out, and jelly beans, thanks to my amazing husband and family.
4. What was the worst part about your hospital stay (besides the labor of course)?
For me, the worst part was having some terrible nurses. Some were absolutely amazing and attentive and some were just not.
One nurse was two hours late on my Motrin and I was in excruciating pain (um, hello nurse, did you not see that huge baby I just pushed out? Give me my damn meds!).
I had to ask over and over again for basic things like nipple cream, they didn't have nursing pads available and I was desperate for them. I wanted to shower, but they told me to wait, then had a shift change and forgot about us for a few hours, so I just got up and did it myself. This, and the fact that I missed my son so much, was the reason we decided to go home the second they said we could.
They also put a typo in her name, so now I have the fun process of correcting her documents to look forward to!
5. What is your advice for new parents for surviving the hospital stay and making it more comfortable?
My advice is to let the baby go to the nursery during the night so you can get some sleep in between feedings. I didn't do this with my first baby, and was reluctant with this baby, simply because I missed the closeness of them. I wanted them with me. But I let go of that for a few hours and tried to rest.
Also, pack your own comfy clothes and don't be afraid to speak up if you need something. (Not that they always bring it!)
And, if you are nursing, use the lactation consultants. They are amazing. I nursed my son, but still needed refreshers this time around and they were very helpful.
6. How soon after you got home after the hospital stay did you feel back to *slightly normal*?
I was shocked at how quickly I started feeling better. I had a vaginal delivery, but the labor gods were looking out for me and I somehow had no tearing, and I think that was a big part of why my healing went quicker. Now, nearly 3 weeks postpartum, I don't feel fully "normal" yet, but I've been mobile and able to be on my feet a lot more that with my first. Still sore, but adjusting. A few days after we got home from the hospital, I got a cold, then a sinus infection, and then an ear infection on top of that, and I think if that hadn't happened, I would feel a lot more normal sooner!
7. What was it like the first moment you saw your baby or held your baby?
The first thing I thought when they put her on my chest was "my God, she is big!" and that was just so beautiful and looked identical to my son when he was born. She hardly cried and I was worried about that, but she was just so content to be there, with us, she didn't cry much.
I was shocked when she lifted her head and looked right at me just moments after being born. It was an amazing moment.
8. Anything you would do differently?
Not really. As painful as labor was, I was happy I waited it out before getting the epidural and I think I have that to thank for the quick progression.
Things happened in the way they were meant to happen and her labor, delivery and birth went as well as it possibly could and I count my blessings every day for that.
9. Anything you want to add?
I learned that each labor is so very different, as each pregnancy is.
My doctor told me it would quick and easier, but I didn't believe them. They also said she wouldn't be too big, and she turned out to be huge, so they were only half right!
What you think you know about labor, birth, babies, it can all be tested and you might find you didn't know (or remember) as much as you think you did. I am constantly asking questions that I used to know the answers to and reaching out to my husband, or whoever is visiting, for help with things I can't physically do yet. Ask for help, moms, ask for help! I learned the hard way, by overdoing it, that you can't do everything you can normally do until you are fully healed, and you can't fully heal unless you rest, and take it easy.
10. What is your advice to moms headed for labor soon?
My advice, and you'll hate me for it, because I hated hearing it, is to be patient with your body and baby. I was so uncomfortable at the end of the pregnancy, I would have done just about anything to have it be over. I just wanted the baby to be here and for me to not be so uncomfortable. But by the time labor started, my body was so ready that it was fast, and by no means easy, but not nearly as hard as my first labor. I had been contracting for months, and it was annoying, and terrible, but it made the actual labor much easier (well, easy for labor!).
Try and be patient, and let your body do the very thing it was meant to do. Then, the baby comes, and anyone who is a parent knows, it all goes so quick once they are here!