A word of warning: This post is about labor. If you don't want to hear about it, stop reading now. As a courtesy, I did try to avoid anything too personal, but you never can tell what someone else might deem unnecessary information.
I was startled to discover that my second natural labor was completely and totally different than my first. Is that normal?
Side note: I was induced when First Son was born. Pitocin was not my friend. My current doctor is much more relaxed. He feels most babies would arrive within a few more days if everyone could be a little more patient. Of course, that's not always possible, but as long as baby sounded healthy and was moving around he was satisfied to wait and I was very happy to agree with him.
My second labor, with First Daughter, was absolutely by the book. I had strong contractions every 15 minutes for about 40 hours. I was able to go to church, talk to people, and generally go about life. It wasn't bad at all, except that I kept thinking "Any minute now I'll need to go to the hospital." There was a sudden jump from every 15 minutes to every 5 minutes with a marked increase in intensity, so we called Grammy and headed to the hospital. First Daughter was born about 45 minutes after they checked me in. All in all, the hard contractions lasted no more than a couple of hours. The contractions at the very end were long and very intense but I was able to breathe my way through them pretty steadily and they only lasted about 30 minutes before it was time to push.
Second Daughter's labor was so different I could hardly believe I was in labor. The contractions seemed to come out of nowhere and were incredibly intense right from the start. They weren't consistent, though. I'd have three about three minutes apart and then go ten minutes without any. I labored at home for about three hours before Kansas Dad suggested maybe we really should go. I think I was entering transition and he could tell it was the real thing. Of course, we hadn't even called Grammy yet, so we had to wait a while longer. A few minutes later, I sent Kansas Dad across the street to ask the neighbor to wait with the kids because I thought we needed to leave immediately. (Luckily, Grammy arrived as he was walking down the driveway.) I wanted to push as soon as they got me checked in, but we had to wait a while for the doctor on call to arrive. Second Daughter was born about 20 minutes after they checked me in.
She might have been born a day earlier (before midnight) if I'd arrived in time for them to call the doctor earlier. (The family medicine resident even called the OB resident over from the main hospital building in case he didn't make it in time.)
So, a question to my friends with more than one baby and all my doctor friends...how does it usually work? Does a woman usually have similar labor experiences with different kids? If we decide to have another baby (yes, a possibility, though we're trying to to make any decisions for a while yet), what should I expect?
I'll tell you one thing, the next time I have a few hours of contractions like I did this time, I'm calling Grammy and heading to the hospital. I'm not sure we could wait as long as we did this time.
For those of you wondering which labor I preferred, I have to say either one (non-induced). Labor isn't exactly fun in the sun, but the second one was very controlled and non-frightening and the third one was over almost before I believed it had started.
And, at the end, you have a tiny little baby to take home: