On my second time around the block I figured I would deliver earlier than my first. I had heard that is common. Madison was a week early so I figured Mallory would be the same or even earlier. But this was the first event in a line of many that would show me that you can’t base much on what your first kid did! The day before my due date I was getting pretty restless so I ok’d the OB to do the beautifully named “stretch and sweep”. I knew that this procedure can trigger a delivery within about a day so I spent the rest of the day hyper-aware of every feeling in my body and unwilling to go very far from home. But nothing happened all day and I went to bed thinking I might end up being one of those people who need a second stretch and sweep. Darn. They’re more than uncomfortable. Well, at 1:30am I got up to pee and my water broke on the toilet. You can’t ask for a cleaner start than that. I got myself a diaper on and then woke Matt to tell him it was go time!
We called my mom and she came right over as I put a few more things in Madison’s overnight bag so she could go to Grammy’s in the morning. As we were heading out the door, Alfie (the cat) scooted into the garage. We had moved into the house just a couple weeks before so naturally he was curious about the limits of his new space, and evaded us as we tried to get him back in the house. It didn’t feel right to leave him out there or leave my mom to try and collect him in the middle of the night. I managed to poke a broom under my car and force him out and grab him. Yes, me, the pregnant lady in labour half-squatted and bent over double in a diaper and sweats to shoo and scoop up a cat. The point is, we got him. And we could leave.
I was admitted right away and got to call in Matt (covid rules said he needed to wait for this phone call). Just like with my first, I requested epidural right away. This time though I declined the gas for the wait (it can take a while to get all the T’s crossed and the epidural in) but I accepted morphine. Crazy how morphine barely touches the pain of labour. I still couldn’t think during contractions. Once I got the epidural I napped a wee bit (ah that sweet relief) and then it’s a blur until I started pushing a few minutes after 7 in the morning. She was born at 7:30am weighing 8lbs9oz (a good pound and an ounce bigger than her sister was). All-in my labour was about 6 hours. Not too bad!
We spent the day napping, snacking and trying to figure out how to change such a tiny diaper again. Man, newborns are flimsy! I thought it was going to come so much easier, having done it before but I was so awkward. The first poop that I changed was in front of Matt and a nurse. I made a complete mess, getting that sticky black tar-poop on her clothes, my hands, and the sheet underneath her. I felt like a complete noob.
Some time after dinner Matt went home. We agreed it made sense for one of us to get a good night’s rest, but more importantly to be home with the dog and cat since my mom had taken Madison to her own house that morning after feeding them. It was a rough night of long and frequent feeds. I shed tears of frustration over lack of sleep and I was already getting sore nipples. I thought about calling Matt, and half-wished I had not sent him home. But I didn’t call because I thought ‘what can he really do’? The nurse brought me snacks and a sample of nipple ointment to get me through. The next morning, although I was exhausted, I felt much better in the light of day and in Matt’s company. He brought me breakfast and I was grateful for him in more than one way. By about midday we got to go home and rest up a little before Madison would get home and we’d introduce our daughters to each other.
So this time I suppose there was nothing very eventful even though it was a huge event to us. There was no watermelon-red vomit in the hospital gardens. No fevers. No drama. Just us. A family of four, finally all together.
Weight: 8lbs 9oz
What I learned
- Second births do not always come earlier than firsts (ok I already knew that in theory)
- Cats don’t care if you’re in labour
- Morphine can be “too weak”
- It’s worthwhile to keep your partner at the hospital for moral support at night and get a pet-sitter lined up
- Taking care of a second newborn is a bit like riding a bike but you fall off the bike a bit while you wake up that muscle memory.