On my due date, Evie crawled over to me in the bed, patted my stomach, and said “baby out!”

LT (for “Little Tomato”–any Pink Martini fans in the house?) took her own sweet time. Which was better than the alternative–having just moved to Portland Oregon 6 weeks before her due date, we were wholly unprepared for her to arrive any more than a couple of days before her EDC of May 14th. I think I willed that baby to stay inside, then freaked her out about coming out! The last few weeks of this pg were much more uncomfortable than when I was pg with her sister. I started out fatter and proceeded to become… moreso. As with the previous pg, I was working f/t until starting leave, and with the move on top of it, there was again no time to take care of myself or do a lot of the inner work I would have liked to do before LT came. Sigh. Maybe with the next one…

We waited & waited for LT to show up. My OB suggested an induction if we got to 41 weeks; I had very mixed feelings about this, but having recently heard about some acquaintances (he’s an MD, they have 2 kids already) who just delivered a post-dates stillborn baby (nuchal cord), and reliving the two post-dates horror stories from my own medical school training, I reluctantly agreed. It felt wrong to push my body to do something it wasn’t ready to do (at that point–we talked about this at 40 wks–just Braxton Hicks contractions), but SADS (sudden antenatal death syndrome) has always been a huge fear of mine.

The Monday before my induction (Weds), I was having lots of contractions. I assumed they were just Braxton Hicks (as they had been at my previous appt–they put me on toco to check) b/c they were powerful but non-painful, but turns out these were labor contractions! And they were pretty regular for a few hours–3-5 minutes. I felt sure I’d “go” that night, but then they crapped out at about 7 pm and became less frequent. Same thing happened Tuesday.

We did end up going in for induction with pitocin on Weds, but I felt better about it since my body was clearly getting ready. I was 2 cm, 90% effaced. As with last time, my plan was to go natural if possible, but to be open to pain meds if I felt I needed them. Last time, about halfway through an 18 hr labor, I hit a wall and I just couldn’t go on. I felt like my whole body would go rigid with contractions, and I couldn’t relax any part of me. I couldn’t share the experience with Sean b/c I was so absorbed in the pain. The epidural was… well, fantastic. I felt like I was back in the room, able to be present with my husband and my soon-to-arrive daughter. I was able to rest and relax and laugh and smile as Evie was born. There is truly no way I could have gone on w/o the epidural for that birth.

This time, I wanted to wait again to see if the pain got “that bad”. It did intensify, getting to about a 6/10. If it had stayed there, I could have handled it, I think. The sucky part is, I’ll never know. We got to a point where my doc wanted to rupture my amniotic bag, and he said, well, we could do the epidural before or after, or not at all (I’d told him my plans, but that I was pretty damn sure I’d cave and get the epidural at some point). We went over the pros & cons of both: I could go for AROM and see how it went with the pain, and get the epidural later if needed. BUT the exam would probably be very, um, invasive, and there was a chance things could ramp up very quickly from there to wildly painful, perhaps w/o the time to do the epidural. I hemmed & hawed; I felt like I’d “earned” the epidural last time but not this time–the pain hadn’t gotten to that consciousness-altering place for me. Well… I caved again. I still have guilt over not “earning” this epidural, but again, it allowed me to relax and really enjoy the birth process.

Penelope Frances arrived at 5:25 pm, with nuchal cord present (as it is in 1/4 of births, but it still freaked me out, because it didn’t reduce–they had to cut it). 8 lbs, 15 oz, 21 3/4 inches long, mercifully small head. Champion nurser from the start, as was her sister. We stayed in the hospital 2 nights (and the second night was just awful, because the bed was SO uncomfortable–I got up to use the jacuzzi tub at 4 am in tears b/c my hips hurt so much. The next morning, our wonderful day-shift nurse ordered me a thick egg crate mattress pad the next day, and I slept like a baby for 2 hrs! We brought it home with us…). Evie came (oh, how I missed my baby girl!) and kissed the baby and said “hi Penny” and “hi Sister”. I had a great OB and wonderful nurses.

My milk is in and nursing is going very well–it’s so great to have a nursling again! Penny is absolutely beautiful.

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