Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is It Always This Different?

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 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:


  1. I'll just say that each of my three labors got progressively shorter/easier (from 12 hours to 6 to just under 5). The first was pretty typical, I'd say. The second was different from the others in that my water broke a couple hours before I started having contractions, but with both the second and third I had similar contractions - very short but strong. With the third, the labor nurse was shocked to see how far along I was when she finally checked me, considering how "easy" my contractions seemed to be. I wonder, too, if it ever gets longer/more difficult with later children or if labor usually stays the same or gets shorter/easier?

  2. With the exception of my 2nd and 4th, the other 3 have stayed around 4 hours. The key difference between those three and the 2nd and 4th was the epidural (never again). My 3rd was induced and was horribly painful but thankfully over in 4 hours. You seem to be following a textbook pattern of multiple births where labor is shorter but from what I can tell from my momys that doesn't always hold.

  3. It was my experience on Labor and Delivery that you had to MOVE with moms who had had multiple prior gestations. The more babies, the faster the delivery--often to the point where it took the moms by surprise. I'll never forget my last 5 minutes on my OB/GYN rotation. It was 11:55 and I was off at midnight. I went to check on a mom who had just arrived towards the end of her 6th pregnancy. I walked in and basically caught the baby. There wasn't even time to call loudly enough for the nurse to get her back in the room. It was wild. Faster/easier is definitely what I've heard and learned. Now, whether I'll experience it is a completely different discussion, with a short answer of NO. :)

  4. i can only tell you god created the little angels. every child i carried was different all during my pregnancy. the 1st three woke me up in the earlier morning hours(3a.m.) and were all delivered by noon. my last decided around 8pm that it was getting close to the time and i notified the county sheriff's office to see if they could contact his dad (who was at the races)they said yes. well it came over the loud speakers at the races ( dad your baby is having a wife at the hospital) he arrived at the hospital after the races around 1030pm and informed the nurses it would be 6 hrs. and sure enough child 4 arrived 6 hrs later. kansas mom's mom (my sister )took me to the hospital, as she didn't want me driving. as far as the labor goes it hurts extremely bad, i had back labor,but once it was over i forgot about the pain . and i always tell new moms to take a rubber bat to the delivery room,so when a strong contraction comes they can hit new dad without hurting him (just want him to feel the pain ) as they will need him after wards. you're right in the end you have an adorable child that god has entrusted to you to nourish and cherish forever.. you are blessed

  5. I'm very glad it was shorter, especially the part at the hospital. (In my experience, the longer you labor at the hospital, the more stuff they want to do to you to "help" move things along, though the birthing center I've used here in Kansas seems like they'd be a little more hands-off. I wouldn't know since I've never labored there for more than an hour or so.)

    I just expected to have more of those early labor contractions before things got intense. I also expected them to be more regular, five minutes apart or something...not in bunches.

    I'm very glad it's over, though, and Second Daughter is settling into her new home.


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