Someone recently asked me, what would I change about this (upcoming) birth from my last one?
That question has had me thinking — really thinking — about how I felt after my first birthing experience. What would I change about it? What will I do differently this time, if anything?
In all honesty, my first birth experience went pretty well. I always knew that I didn’t really want to be induced and I didn’t want a c-section (or, that I wanted to avoid it at all costs unless it came down to an emergency situation — I didn’t want to be one of those “let’s schedule it just to get the baby out” kinda thing). There wasn’t much I could do that Thursday morning when I woke up at 7am to have my water break right there in my bathroom. I kinda wish it hadn’t been first thing in the morning upon waking up to see snow out my window, but hey, there’s not much I can do to control the weather, right?
I didn’t really know what contractions to consider “hospital-worthy” since I’d been having pretty decent contractions for weeks. So when we called the doctor to let him know my water had broken and he asked if I was having contractions, I had said yes. So he said we could go ahead and make our way to the hospital. I didn’t have a bag packed. I hadn’t showered nor had I eaten in the last 12 + hours. If I could go back now, I would’ve stayed home longer. I’d have taken a nice shower or maybe even a bath. I’d have taken my time getting ready, packing a bag, having breakfast, and I would’ve stayed home to labor in the comfort of my own home for a while. I wish everything hadn’t been so RUSH RUSH RUSH. This time when I’m in labor, someone remind me to EAT SOMETHING? Because going 30 something hours without eating was pretty awful.
Once I got to the hospital things went pretty smoothly. I got taken up to my room and dressed into a hospital gown. I was comfortable and got in bed where I got to meet all my nurses and chit chat about how it was my first time. I didn’t get checked or anything immediately, my doctor gave it time. It was suggested that I walked to get labor going, so my husband and I roamed the halls. I passed my doctor in the hall and waved and chit chatted. The nurses showed me where the room is that I could get cold drinks, ice, or anything else I could want (within reason — remember, no food).
The afternoon came and I was making ZERO progress. I couldn’t get an epidural until I was 4 centimeters. But I was nowhere near that. So, finally, my doctor recommended Pitocin. I didn’t really want to go that route… but at the rate I was going, having my water broken and making no progress, even with the walking, etc., I gave in pretty easily. I was ecstatic when evening came and I FINALLY got near 4 centimeters and could have the epidural. I’m NOT superwoman. I was fine with having pain management.
The rest went pretty easily. I laid in bed watching tv. “Everybody Loves Raymond” was on. Slept a little. The epidural wore off and I had to have more administered. Not a huge deal, but the pain was pretty bad. And the pressure, oh — the pressure! “Oh, it’s just pressure,” the nurse told me. NO, IT’S NOT. I told her my body was pushing on it’s own and I couldn’t stop it. Sure enough, I was right, it was time to push. The pushing took no time at all. My nurse and doctor were awesome, along with my husband by my side, holding my hand (and my puke bucket, because I was puking while pushing).
After the actual delivery is what I would change. I wish he had been placed on my chest immediately. Cord not cut yet. I wanted to be the first one to touch him. Not have him cleaned up and all that stuff, that could’ve waited. I didn’t get to attempt to nurse my baby until 8 hours AFTER he was delivered. That set us up for breastfeeding FAILURE. Even though we overcame it — it wasn’t easy, but we DID IT. This time, I will have it known that I want baby latched as soon as baby is born. I don’t want visitors RIGHT AWAY, I want that first bit of time with just my husband and BABY. I want it known that formula is NOT TO BE GIVEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, because i’m still angry and bitter that my baby boy was given a formula bottle before a breast. I understand that he had to be “observed” for health reasons, but I was drugged and told to go to sleep… Instead, middle of the night or not, I should’ve accompanied baby to the nursery instead. That will be kept in mind this time.
Afterwards was good, though. Nurses were great, and always RIGHT there for me. I needed something, they were there. Water, pain meds, ANYTHING. What I wish was more readily available though, was a lactation consultant. The nurses would ask me, “Have you tried nursing again?” and I’d answer with a meek “yes,” but I knew little to nothing about nursing. This time, I know to seek help. Immediately. I loved that he roomed in with me, and even co-slept in my hospital bed. I loved that my husband was there 100% of the time, helping me. It was truly a good experience. The hospital was gorgeous and I was very comfortable, I couldn’t have asked for more. Except maybe that I would have filled out the paperwork upon leaving, because my husband made a few misspellings that still annoy me to this day… 😉
Oh, and the weekend that I spent in the hospital? I was fine with being there all weekend. But non-stop guests? Umm, they can wait this time until we get home, THEN they can visit. Because it’s totally overwhelming and unnecessary in the hospital.
All in all, I ENJOYED my hospital birth. You know, I spend a lot of time reading stuff online, and I’ve read all of the “horror” hospital birth stories, and all the women who are mourning their hospital births and pain medications, pitocins, and epidurals. They all vow that this time, they WILL have a homebirth, in a birthing tub, all natural with zero medications. I’m not wanting all of that. I’m fine with hospitals and the way it went in the hospital. I’m not saying these women are wrong for wanting these things, because they’re not. But to me, it’s just not that serious. I just want my baby born in a clean, healthy, comfortable environment. I want a healthy, full term baby. I want a good start to a good breastfeeding relationship. These are my goals, and I’m going to do all I can to achieve them this time.
Oh, and I’ll be packing my hospital bag BEFORE 35 weeks this time. Because not having ANYTHING with me, well, it kinda sucked.