Thursday, April 12, 2012

Parenthood: Pregnancy and Childbirth
Take #2

By the time Baby #1 was about 6 months old I was ready to do it again. It just seemed the natural thing to do. Biology took a little longer to think so. But one Saturday afternoon, shortly before she turned a year, our little cherub screamed from her crib as if to yell, "I know what you're doing in there and I don't like it" while her younger sibling was conceived.

Because I hadn't been terribly regular yet, it was a few days before I noticed I was late. I must have been about 5 weeks along. The little cube produced a plus sign and we were on our way. I felt strangely fine. I had had some bizarre cravings for Italian Hoagies at breakfast, but other than that I was fine. Famous last words.

A week later I was flat. Totally unable to function. But this go-round I had a toddler. I would lie in bed as long as I could each morning, nibbling Kix or Cheerios straight out of the box while Child #1 ransacked whatever she could find. I didn't care. Just leave me alone. I distinctly remember giving her a box of Kleenex to do with as she wished just so I could lie there for 20 more minutes and groan.

Now I didn't throw up every day all day like I did with my first, I just FELT like I was going to, which, in many ways, was worse because I never got any relief. Certain foods could really push me over the edge. One evening we drove past a restaurant with the word PIZZA lit up in neon. The sight of the word set me gagging. Another time I was babysitting a neighbor's son who was just about a year old. I was pleased with myself for having such a good morning when the inevitable happened. I had to change his diaper. The poor kid was on some sort of antibiotic which made something unpleasant downright unbearable. I threw up right then and there. I held him on the top of the dresser with one hand while I leaned over and lost my pancakes onto the floor. Poor guy didn't know what hit him.

Because of my poor birth experience the first go-round, I opted to go with a midwife this time who delivered at a smaller hospital and had good medical backup. Baby #1 came along a week early so I was just convinced that all my babies would be early. I started thinking I was in labor with Baby #2 at about 36 weeks and on and on it went. My due date (10/21) came and went with no baby. I was enormous. My 20 month old toddler could actually take shelter from the rain under my belly.

Friday morning, October 25 dawned. It was my 28th birthday and my husband was home sick with a cold. I wandered around all day in a bad mood and totally bummed that it was my birthday and we couldn't even afford to order a pizza (payday was not until the next week), much less get one of those yummy cakes from the bakery on the next block. I made myself a pathetic salad, watched Jeopardy, and began to get contractions. I was a bit of an emotional wreck and just couldn't figure out what was going on and was convinced that I was NEVER going to go into labor. After all, I hadn't really gone into labor the first time.

My in-laws came and got Baby #1 so we could figure things out and we headed to the hospital around 11:15 p.m. I was 4 cm dilated and my midwife gave me the option of going home for a while. My ever so rational mind told me that if I left the hospital I would never have the baby—so we stayed. I spent the majority of the night in the tub and do not remember labor being all that bad. Along about 6 a.m. my midwife said I was close to 10 cm and suggested that I start pushing. From there things got difficult. I pushed and pushed and pushed. I got in every position known to man. I stood, sat, squatted, rolled. Nothing would happen. Finally, just as she was on the verge of calling the backup doctor for a c-section, things started to progress. As it turns out, this baby was posterior with a compound presentation. Her right fist was up at her left temple. No wonder I... well, never mind.

Now, I had been so sure that this baby was a boy. The pregnancy had been a bit different. I had carried differently. It just seemed that that was the way it was going to be. At long last, at 10:56 a.m. Baby #2 was born. She had a head of thick black hair and didn't look a thing like our first, so I was sure that she was a boy. Nope. She was an 8 lb. 9 oz. baby girl with a host of "stork bites."

My in-laws brought Big Sister in that afternoon. She looked at her Baby Sister, leaned over, and yanked a handful of that thick, black hair. Ah, siblings. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

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