Birth #2: 4 Hours. All Natural

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Many thanks to Kristin Raimondo for sharing her second birth story with us. Be sure to read “Lesson Learned: Stand-Up for Myself by Kristin Raimondo” to see just how different her two experiences were.

For weeks prior to giving birth to Kallie I was feeling quite a bit of pelvic pressure. I had been telling people that I felt when she came, she was going to come quickly. When I gave birth to Wyatt, I was very unprepared and did not give much thought about how to handle labor and delivery. With little preparation and poor knowledge, anxiety hit when the contractions did. My anxiety made my contractions worse and in turn my strong contractions made my anxiety worse. The whole experience was chaotic and somewhat traumatic. So I was determined that with this labor, I was going to be prepared.

I started doing my research and making a birth plan early in my pregnancy. I reviewed my plan over and over again in my head, and was always looking up new ways to relax and keep my cool during labor. When the big day finally came, I was home with Wyatt who was 3 years old at the time. I cleaned the house and was trying to get things done because I knew that Kallie was going to come any day.

At around 1:20 pm, I started having some mild contractions. I started timing them using an app on my phone and they were very irregular. Sometimes they were four minutes apart and then 20 minutes apart. Although my contractions were irregular at around 2:30 or 3:00, I called my husband Nigel and told him I felt like maybe he should come home from work early, so he headed home.

My contractions were getting pretty strong, but I was very calm and focused. Around 3:00 pm, I called my OB office to tell them my contractions were irregular, but strong to see if they wanted me to come in. Earlier in the week I had gone to a scheduled 39-week visit and my doctor had told me that I was 4 cm dilated and not to “take my time” getting to the hospital. So just to be safe, I called and waited for a response.

My contractions became stronger and stronger, and suddenly became regular at 4:00 pm. I called my OB back and they told me to get to the hospital ASAP. I called Nigel’s sister to come be with Wyatt. She was there within 15 minutes. As soon as she got there, Nigel had the car packed up and ready to go to the hospital.

We left our house around 4:30 pm and headed to the hospital during rush hour. Although my contractions were strong and regular at that point, I remained very calm and focused. Once we got to the hospital, we checked in and got into our room at around 5:15 pm. As soon as we walked into the room, I looked at my nurse and said, “You better check me like now.” I was starting to feel a lot of pressure. I was 7 1/2 cm dilated already! My nurse started calling for backup and suddenly people started flooding into the room setting up for delivery. I told my nurse I wanted an epidural and she said she had to get me admitted first and she was working as quickly as she could.

Suddenly my contractions became extremely intense. Nigel and some of the nurses were trying to get me to breathe slower, but I was having a hard time getting through the contractions. In my head, I was telling myself to breathe and breathe, slow and regular, but my body was not agreeing with my head. Within a few more contractions, I started screaming through my contractions and it was at that point I knew that an epidural was not likely to happen.

My doctor was in the room and was also trying to get me to breathe as they were worried about the baby getting enough oxygen during contractions. A strong contraction hit and I felt my body starting to bear down almost on its own, and my water burst on its own. My doctor checked me and I was still about 7 1/2 cm, so you might have thought I had a little bit of time left before delivery, however that was not the case. With my next contraction, I felt even more pressure and was having a harder time getting through each one. I only had about four more contractions after my water broke and I was at that point screaming that I needed to push. My doctor checked me again and sure enough I was fully dilated and ready to push.

I remember thinking, “How in the world am I going to do this?” but I started pushing and within a few minutes Kallie was born. She joined us at 6:05 pm, just 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital. Nigel and I were in shock. I could not believe that I had the baby already. Everything happened so quickly. We didn’t even have time to digest it all until after she was born. I remember as my doctor was stitching me up, I turned to Nigel and said, “Get the camera!” Neither one of us had even thought about getting the camera out during all the excitement.

Looking back now I wondered if I should have paid more attention to my body instead of the timing of the contractions when deciding whether or not to got to the hospital. I knew I was in labor, however I was so determined to remain focused and calm that I may have been trying to be too “tough.” After pushing for almost three hours with my first and having to have a vacuum assisted birth, I would take my four-hour all natural labor and delivery any day. Overall, this delivery was a great experience and I am so happy I kept my cool for the most part, which was a major goal of mine.

As for my detailed birth plan that I worked on and revised for months, it never left my suitcase, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

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