I was thinking about second child syndrome this morning and how I want to give Max all the love and attention we gave Lola, and I realised I hadn’t written about his birth.
Like Lola, Max was induced. But because we so worried about his size, I felt very different about the induction this time around. Instead of begging for just a little more time to let the baby come on her own, I was begging to get him out. With Lola I was so afraid of the birth – would my vagina split open all the way?? how much would it hurt? why can’t we just lay eggs just like chickens?? This time I was just worried about Max.
So at 38 weeks we left Lola with her grandparents, bundled into a taxi and headed for the clinic. I felt so excited at the thought of meeting him soon, and pretty relaxed. We called my parents on skype as we threaded our way through early Lima traffic. When we arrived Dr E said he wanted to see how we went without the prostaglandin gel – using just the drip. It was a long day, and nothing much happened. Very tiny insignificant contractions, and then mid-afternoon Dr E said we should leave him in there a bit longer. I felt completely exhausted and devastated. A full day in the clinic, and no Max.
At 39 weeks and 5 days, we checked in again. And boy, was it fast! We arrived about 7am, Dr E put the gel on my cervix at 7.30am or so, we checked into our room and I put on the breezy hospital robe to await contractions. They were small and sneaky at first, barely noticeable. They built up gradually when they put the drip in my arm, until they were coming about every two or three minutes, which seemed like a lot to me, even though they were still very bearable in terms of the pain.
Dr E came in at about that point and he broke my waters – yikes. Those manageable contractions suddenly started hitting me with the force of a small truck. Every two or three minutes. “Hold my hand!” I squealed at Rufus, who had hung back while Dr E examined me. “I think I want that epidural now!”
This felt like the textbook induction scenario I have read about many times – the contractions coming fast and super-strong. I was so grateful by the time they got the epidural in. It’s a miraculous thing.
When I had Lola, I had a nice leisurely four hours or so between the epidural and the actual birth. This time it was about 2. The epidural was starting to fade when I told the nurses I felt like I had to go to the toilet, and the next thing I know Dr E zoomed in wearing his scrubs and said I could start pushing right away if I felt like it. “What, now?” I said. It seemed way, way too fast.
I was wheeled into the same room that Lola was delivered in, and we had another comical discussion about pushing. With Lola I kind of put all the effort into puffing up my cheeks instead of pushing her out… this time I got all confused with the breathing and huffed and puffed instead of holding my breath to help with the push. I could feel it this time, his little head coming down, ready to come out into the world. And it hurt. But it was a good pain… there was something about feeling that little head inside me, knowing exactly where he was in that moment. I pushed, and pushed, and he was there. Not upside down like Lola; but being cradled up and offered to me. He cried straight away, and then he was snuggled up on my chest, where he has wanted to be ever since. He’s a very cuddly baby. We had more time with him than we did with Lola – I fainted away and needed to be stitched up internally with her. With Max, I was in better shape. He stayed there, like a little prawn, while everyone rattled around us, and Rufus took photos, and sent them out to my parents, and his parents, and, yes, though I didn’t know it at the time.. to Facebook. My second child, little Max. Life is beautiful.