Recently I've been thinking a lot about my labours. How different they were, and how I coped with each. I thought it would be interesting to write about my and others experiences, so that other second time mums-to-be can see a little bit more what to expect; although I'm very aware this is just individual experiences.
When I was pregnant with Parker I will admit now I was absolutely terrified. Not about having a newborn, or having two under two. But about the labour itself. I never found anything to read that gave me reassurance. I was adamant I was going to have a labour just like my first.
If you've been reading for a while you'll know I didn't have the easiest of labours with Indiana. I thought I was one of the lucky ones when my contractions started on my due date. However what I didn't expect was to still be in labour 32 hours later! My contractions weren't doing their job and I eventually ended up on the drip, and had to have help with a ventouse delivery. My recovery was also very hard, and very long.
Parker's birth didn't end up as I expected though. At less than 5 hours long and completely natural (apart from gas & air) it was the complete opposite! Also despite a 2nd degree tear, my recovery was much quick and I felt back to myself within a few days.
So why do I think my second experience was so much better?
- With Indiana I was told to expect a longer labour. Your cervix has to go from long to short, which takes a lot of time. I was told by my midwife that any subsequent births are usually quicker, as your body knows what to do (and therefore does this part a lot faster).
- I knew what to expect this time. I knew what my waters breaking felt like (and what to do when they did). I knew what was a 'real' contraction, and not a braxton hick. I also knew what the pain was going to be like (and that I could get through it!).
- Linked with above, I knew what worked for me and my body. Gas and air really helped. Sitting/laying made the pain a lot worse - so bouncing on a ball was out the question. I also knew I hated being touched. If anyone tried to rub my back I whacked them away and told them to leave me alone haha. I feel I knew how to manage the pain better as I could just do the things that worked for me.
- I was more confident to ask questions and do what I wanted. As a first time mum you usually listen to the doctors/midwives as you assume they know best. However the second time I had clear points that I wanted (water birth, skin-to-skin, etc), and was more vocal about getting them!
|Parker was born in the pool. I then had immediate skin-to-skin ready for breastfeeding!|
Emma from Mama P and Little Me had a very similar experience to me.
"With my first I had lots of intervention and very little progress. I had my waters broke, they hooked me up to a drip, I was exhausted and went for an epidural to get some rest. With my legs round my ears I had two midwives yelling 'push!' and finally Austin arrived after 38 hours.
My second was totally different. 90 minutes from my waters going on their own and contractions starting to having him in my arms with only gas and air and nobody telling me when to push! I went into a bit of shock afterwards though as it all happened a bit too quick!"
Victoria at Mummy to my Cheeky Little Monkey also had a long first birth.
"James' birth was long! I started in slow labour on 19th August and didn't go into established labour till early hours of August 26th! James was born at 4.34pm. From being 10cm to James arriving was 34 minutes resulting in me having a tear and needing general anaesthetic for the repair.
With Freddie I found out at 39 weeks I could have elective c-section as I had a high risk of having another tear. Best decision I could have made as his birth was so lovely and controlled. I got all the skin-to-skin contact that I never got the first time. I actually feel like I have recovered better from section than I did from James birth".
Sian who blogs at Quite Frankly She Said had an induction for her first labour
"My first was a horrible, long induction. 46 hours, all the drugs, ending in emcs and a J incision, and 5 days in scbu. Second was an awesome v-bac. No drugs, 3 hour labour, and home a couple of hours later. Couldn't have been more different!
Abigail, who blogs at Lily Mae Adventures has recently given birth to her second baby, a beautiful boy! Sending her HUGE congratulations.
"On paper my labours should have been pretty similar. Both were inductions for the same reason at the exact same gestation (38w). However the two labours couldn't have been more different. My first induction was long, tense and I had all the drugs going including an epidural. I had a bad reaction to my induction pessary and spent more of my labour vomiting than I did focussing on my breathing, and the baby kept getting distressed, so it was all very stressful.
My second labour I went into it feeling more relaxed with a 'what will be, will be' attitude, and this definitely helped. The whole labour was intense but super fast and I went from 2cm to fully dialated within an hour with no time for pain relief. Although much more painful this time round I'm pleased I managed to avoid pain relief as the recovery was much smoother and we were out of hospital and back home within 24 hours"So as you can see, every birth truly is different. Don't be afraid just because your first birth wasn't straight forward, as you're most likely going to have a completely different experience! Just go into it feeling positive, knowing you can do it, and that no matter what happens you'll have your beautiful baby in your arms.
How did your labours/births differ? What do you think made the difference?