It all started the day before with what I kept calling "pre-labour" pains. Crampy, irregular and nothing to write home about - but I did decide to start putting the Maddie babysitters on call, in case something did start to get a bit more advanced. After being in labour with Maddie for over 3 days, I figured I had some time to work with.
Turns out I was right - and got to enjoy full-on contractions (that weren't progressing) all through the night. By the next morning everything was about 10-12 minutes apart, so I told the Hubs to plan on working from home, but I expected we had until late afternoon or so. By about 11am everything started to go a little pear shaped - contractions got stronger, less tolerable, and faster in timing. At this stage, the Hubs was frantically trying to put out a few work fires that had cropped up, and I was unsuccessfully trying to "distract" myself with bad daytime tv.
A call was put in to the midwives around 2pm and based on what they could tell over the phone, they decided to forgo the at-home check-in visit and just meet us at the hospital for 3:30pm. I wish I could tell you that I got there and it just popped out like a greased watermelon - but yeah, I already gave away the time of birth. So fast-forward another 6 hours of labour - I did my best to go "au natural" but 7 centimeters and 4 hours later I broke down and begged for drugs. The epidural went in around 8pm, my water broke while the anesthesiologist was still in the room and I was ready to start pushing just before 10pm.
All in all? If I can compare labour with Maddie? It was same-same but different.
Long pre-labour contraction lead-up in both cases (granted it was much longer with Maddie, but I'm clearly not one of those girls that wakes up in the middle of the night, gently wakes the Hubs with a whispered "It's Time.").
With Maddie I got the epidural right away and spent almost 12 hours of labour laying on my side on a hospital bed, with a pitocin drip while everyone closely watched the fetal monitor which was slightly freaky. But painless. With Katie - well I tried everything humanely possible to get through labour without the epi - shower, jacuzzi, massage, walking, not walking, laying down, sitting on labour ball, nitrous oxide gas... only to breakdown and ask for it because I hadn't progressed a single centimeter in an hour and that my friends, is hella-deflating when you've battled through what you thought was "transition".
With Maddie, by the time the "pushing" stage got there, my epi drip had run out - so I did that part "au natural" and damn - it was painful. With Katie I was so numb that I had midwives on either side of me holding my legs up so I could actually attempt a push. I didn't feel her come out at all - which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think that part could have gone faster if I could actually feel what I was doing at that stage. Not that I'm complaining...
Maddie came out not breathing, had to be suctioned and was whisked off to the warming tray before I could barely glimpse her. Katie came out wailing, was immediately put on my chest and started rooting for the breast almost immediately.
Hmm, now that I explain it like that, I'd say less same-same and more different-different is really how the two experiences stack up.
Big kudos go out to the midwives - if you are considering a pregnancy and haven't thought of a midwife - I would highly HIGHLY recommend it. They're not an added cost - completely covered by OHIP, and they're not all granola-touchy-feely. But it was really a more personal, private, considerate experience than I had before - which was a lot more "medicalized", I realize now.
And the bonus with midwives? You can check out of the hospital as early as 3 hours post-labour. We were home that night by 4am (because it took me 2 hours before I could pee on my own - and that is apparently a pre-requisite to get out of the hospital). It didn't feel strange to leave so early - in fact it was a relief. I got to sleep in my own bed, see Maddie before going to daycare that morning, eat my own food (and not have to eat hospital food!) and did I mention sleep? In my own, comfortable bed? Yep, that was sweet.
Katie has been a darling so far - she slept a tonne when we first got home. And then she wanted to eat. And Eat. And Eat. Andeatandeatandeatandeat. It got a little hairy and scary and teary and hormonal. And then I broke down and let the Hubs give her some formula... and that didn't make a difference. So she and I took to my bed and just ate and slept and ate and slept as much as she'd let me.
I realize we are making all the same mistakes we made before with Maddie - and we really do plan on getting her in her crib and sleeping on her own... in a week or so... Yes, I'm a total sucker...
I'll leave you with some pics. I'd love to show you the classic post-push baby shot with Mama, except the Hubs didn't notice my nipple-slip in every.single.shot. Classic.
Family shot (yes, she's totally on my boob in this picture)
Nekkid baby bum.
Me - looking like I've had zero sleep. Oh wait...
I will do my best to keep the pics and updates coming... we're still feeling very "new" over here and the days are still a bit of a blur. All the Grandparents have come for their visits and we are now on our own... luckily they left us with a rather massively-packed fridge. Which I am doing my best to currently eat my way through...