I wanted to give an overview of my deliveries with Josh and Dekker. I think it's important to see how I remember and look back on those experiences since they are obviously going to influence my choices this time around.
My delivery with Josh really went pretty close to what I expected, except for the fact that he came three weeks early. I'd planned on having an epidural because my thought was, "why deal with pain if you don't have to?". Besides that's what everyone around me was doing and saying. I guess I bought into the "doctors know best" mentality and so pretty much went along with the crowd.
My labor lasted 11 or 12 hours. Started with my water breaking between 2 and 3am, and we threw a few things into a bag and headed to a hospital (we hadn't yet packed the bag since I thought I still had at least another week). my contractions started on their own luckily, so no PIT needed, I got my epidural when I was about a 4. Loving the pain relief I gave myself a bit to much with the magic button, and went completely numb from the waist down. I realized I DID NOT like that, and so decided NOT to push the button again, and luckily it wore off enough that I could feel enough (even with the epidural) to push the last 45 minutes and have a healthy baby boy.
My big hangups were two. First; I had no understanding of perennial stretching, and only vaguely remembered reading about episiotomies- and so said "sure" when my doctor asked me if I wanted an epesiotomy "to help the pushing part move faster". My recovery was NOT fun, I felt sore for two weeks or more- I think mostly due to the episiotomy, but I was achy and stiff for the first couple days beyond the perennial pain, which I wonder if was due to the epidural. Second; because he came so early they didn't have my strep B test results (I'd just had them done the day before) and so they had to give me antibiotics- and I have really small veins, so after SEVERAL attempts by the nurse (all resulting in nasty bruises) they had the anesthesiologist hook me up to my IV for antibiotics. I blame those antibiotics partly for the thrush/yeast problems I faced later.
The last and largest problem: Josh did have a bit of a hard time transitioning. After only a couple of good cried he began kind of grunting and moaning. They took him up to the NICU and put him on oxygen for only about 10 minutes, but than monitored him for a VERY long time. Jake chased after them of course and so I was left by myself for what I want to say was 3 hours?!?! Probably not really that long though. That also meant there was little to no bonding time right after birth, and we did struggle those first few days learning to breastfeed. It's hard to say though why he struggled transitioning. For the longest time I figured it was because he was so early. Could it have also had something to do with the epidural or early cord clamping? Maybe.
In the end though- I was happy with the experience- honestly my biggest frustration was that I let the doctor talk me into an episiotony. But I'd really felt I'd been able to deliver with as little complications or unnecessary aids as possible. That's why going into my pregnancy with Dekker I really didn't plan on changing much.
With Dekker I told my doctor I DID NOT want an epesiotomy, but some help stretching and pushing techniques to help me tear as little as possible. I also told him I wanted my strep test done a little earlier in case I went early (which I did, 3 weeks exactly- again) so I could avoid the antibiotics. However things did not go exactly the same- and I learned A LOT from my second delivery.
When I went in for my 37 week appointment the doctor said I was a 2, the same as the last week. I was a little disappointed since I knew this day marked the same amount of time before my due date that I went into labor with Josh. I was shocked though when my doctor stripped my membranes and simply told me as he was doing it- as if it was no big deal (not cool!). He said it only sends 10% of people into labor- and only if they're ready anyway, and "I might feel bad if I see you later tonight". Well- I was sure to remind him of that when I DID see him later that night!
My labor started with cramping (7p), which turned to contractions(10pm), which turned to steady contractions (midnight). When I got to the hospital I was only dilated to a 2.5, and since I was 3 weeks early they had some rule that kept me from being admitted till I showed that I was in "active labor". The nurse kept me in triage and said that if I progressed a centimeter within an hour, or if my water broke I would be in "active labor" and they could admit me. So I walked the floors and labored for an hour, but was not even to a 3- she said they still couldn't admit me. I asked if it was false labor- she said "No, you're steady enough that you're for sure having this baby- we just can't admit you yet or give you any pain medications." I was doing okay up till this point handling the pain, but then the contractions started to come harder and faster. I know now it's mind over matter, and I'm sure now that if I'd been more prepared to do it on my own I would have been fine- but I was not prepared to deal with it and I was frustrated with the whole situation.
So we waited another hour- this time a very painful, frustrating hour- but still I had not progressed enough. By that point I was crying and moaning in pain and my poor husband didn't know what to do and was just begging them to admit me and give me my epidural. It was right about then that my water broke (2am). They quickly wheeled me into a room, finally admitting me. My contractions were coming one right on top of the other and pounded me with incredible force and I was begging for an epidural. the anesthesiologist came, but was taking his time asking me all kind of questions as they got me set up in my room, the nurse came and checked me and found out that in that brief span of time I'd progressed from 3.5 to an 8- the anesthesiologist, realizing that I wasn't exaggerating like he'd thought said, "we don't have time for an epidural" - desperate for "something!" he gave me a local anesthetic, he'd barely administered it when I was a ten and my doctor was brought in. I started pushing, and he helped with the stretching and it wasn't really until the last 10 minutes that the meds took effect.Dekker was born at 4:07am. Unfortunately, probably because of the rush of it all, the anesthesiologist must have administered the drug wrong because I had POUNDING, what they call "spinal headaches" for the next two weeks. I guess I should have gone back for a "patch" to fix the problem- but I was so leery of anesthesiologists by then, and it wasn't even guaranteed to work- and so I just endured. Besides the headaches though my recovery was 100 times better than it had been with Josh. I was amazed at how little pain I felt (I'd only tore a tiny bit which didn't even require stitches) and how easy I was able to get up, walk around and go to the bathroom etc...
After that I decided I'd do the rest naturally- because though it had been scary at the time, I'd survived and done it pretty much without any meds- and I really don't want to feel helpless if I run into the "sorry we can't admit you yet" or if the baby comes too fast once I am in "active labor", and because my recovery had been so much easier. So that's the gist of it.