WARNING: Here be details of childbirth, some of which may be icky. Read at your own peril.
Ok, so if you’ve followed along with my Insta stories, I made no secret about the fact that I did not so much enjoy being pregnant the second time around. It was much harder on my body this time. I was super achy and tired, and basically just ready to meet the little guy. I was begging him to come early.
Turns out, he listened to his mama.
I went to bed on Tuesday night pretty resigned to the fact that I was going to go the distance, if not pass my due date. I just didn’t feel like he was anywhere near being born. I’d been having tons of irregular contractions, and even some false labor over Memorial Day weekend, but that had all stopped. He felt snug in there.
But at 2am on Wednesday morning I woke up to pee, stood up from bed, and gush. Yup, my water broke. Which was a huge shock, because did you know that only about 15% of women experience their water breaking spontaneously? For most women it happens during labor, and for quite a few (including me, with my first son) your doctor will break it during labor. But nope, this time I got to have the full movie experience.
I won’t lie, it was so shocking that I wasn’t entirely sure if my water broke, or if I was just peeing all over myself. I fled to the bathroom, where I called for Adam and asked him to smell the puddle on the floor to determine if it was pee.
Ladies, don’t marry anyone who won’t do this for you.
It was determined that yes, it was definitely my water breaking, which meant I needed to get to the hospital within the hour (instructions from my midwife/OB, because after an hour you can start to risk infection). Unfortunately, because I still had amniotic fluid coming out of me, all I could do was bark orders at Adam to throw the last of the items into the hospital bag while I tried to contain the mess. We called our friend Josephine, who rushed right over to be there for Freddie, and then off we went.
I was not, at this point, experiencing any contractions. I got checked in at the hospital, got my IV started, filled out a bunch of paperwork (it still kills me that a giant pregnant lady walks into the maternity ward to say her water broke, and the first thing they do is ask for your insurance card … ugh, America, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER), and they called my midwife. She recommended pitocin to try and get contractions going, but I decided to wait until the morning and see if my body would get things moving on its own.
So come 9am, a pitocin drip was begun. And then upped. And then upped again. And upped about ten more times over the course of the morning (I got to recognize the metallic Dansko clogs of my nurse, which would appear behind the sheet covering the door, each time she’d come in to up the dose), until finally finally finally I was feeling contractions like I’d felt with Freddie. My labor and delivery nurse kept coming in to check, and I’d give her this big smile between breathing through them and say “yay contractions!” and she’d grin knowingly and say, “Not there yet, you’re still smiling!”
I tried to smile back at her, but in my head I was all Lady, you don’t know where I’ve been, ok? I seen shit, and I swear, this is labor and I am DOING THIS.
I labored throughout the day. I paced the room and breathed through contractions that I thought were pretty painful while listening to Hamilton start to finish. And when my midwife came back around 1:30pm, they checked me, and I was a four. A FOUR. Seriously? All that, and only FOUR CENTIMETERS? Ugh. So they upped the pitocin big time. My L&D nurse asked me if I wanted the epidural, and I said no, because seriously, this was fine. It was fine. FINE, OK?
Well, that last pitocin dose must have done the trick, because all of a sudden I was in pain. Like, movie pain. Gripping my husbands hands so hard he was in pain, pain. I yelled. I groaned. I moaned. I held onto Adam for dear life through each contraction.
“I’m ready for the epidural,” I said with my face buried in his shoulder.
Yeah, about that. I still had to get a full bag of saline before I could have the epidural. Which meant another half hour of unmediated labor in which I was sure a kid was going to come rocketing out of me at any moment.
I thought I knew what contractions were after Freddie, but oh ho ho, was I so very wrong.
Finally, the fluid was administered and the anesthesiologist arrived. Contractions were coming every couple of minutes, so I was just trying to hang on for dear life. Never in my life have I so desperately wanted someone to jam a needle in my back.
Though I was gritting my teeth silent the entire time, because I was still having epic contractions while trying to hold completely still for the epidural.
Finally finally finally the epidural was in and starting to work. I did manage to mutter to the anesthesiologist that last time my epidural was too high and I had a hard time pushing. I had no idea if she heard me or even cared. Frankly, I didn’t care. I just wanted that sweet relief. But apparently she did, because I still definitely felt contractions and pressure, just a whole hell of a lot less.
About 15 minutes post epidural, my L&D nurse checked me, and I was at 9 centimeters. HOLY SHIT I LABORED WITHOUT MEDICATION TO 9 CENTIMETERS. This is not a humble brag. This is a dammit, Lauren, you waited waaaaay too long to ask for that epidural statement.
If you’re sure you want the epidural, heed my warning, ladies, and don’t wait too long. Because from the time you ask for it to the time it starts working, you still probably have another 45 minutes to an hour of labor. And shit can get real FAST towards the end there.
Again, I had no pain getting the epidural. I barely even felt it. The lidocaine felt like tiny baby bee stings, and the insertion felt like someone pressing on my back, but otherwise? Nada.
A lot of women might think, “You were almost there! Do you wish you’d just skipped it?”
HELL TO THE NOPE.
That epidural gave me about half an hour of rest before I went on to push for an hour, and honestly? I don’t know if I would have had the strength otherwise.
So yeah, half an hour after the epidural I had my legs up, my midwife in front of me, and I was pushing.
And it was fucking hard.
They don’t call it labor for nothing, let me tell you.
But at least I didn’t end up pushing for 4 hours, and after just a scant 1 hour, I gave a good, hard, final push and Leo Fox was born. He was placed on my chest, and I’m not kidding, it was the best feeling in the whole wide world.
For anyone curious about his name, Leo is a name we just really liked and felt it went with both my husband’s Italian last name and with Freddie. And Fox is my mother-in-law’s maiden name.
I got some stitches, but honestly, for as difficult as the second pregnancy has been, healing from the second birth has been proportionally as easy. Maybe it’s the I’ve been distracted by Freddie’s broken leg, or maybe it’s that this birth was shorter and easier, or maybe it’s just that my body’s done it before. Whatever it is, I’m feeling so much better at this point than I did at this point with Freddie.
And want one fun little final coda? When I mentioned during labor that I’d pushed for 4 hours with Freddie, my L&D nurse said, “I’ve only had one mom push that long in the 15 years I’ve been doing this.” And we figured out … that mom was me! She was my delivery nurse last time! (Not the one who wasn’t super great … that nurse left shift just before I started pushing and this nurse came on).
So now I’m the mother of two fantastic little boys, and while our family is in a bit of a holding pattern while we wait for Freddie’s leg to heal, I can’t wait to get out with these little guys and start having adventures.