We arrived at about 1:25pm. Naturally, I refused (via a head-shake) all FOUR wheelchairs that were offered to me, even though I was having to put all my weight on my husband during contractions. I simply had NO strength left in my legs from mostly being on my feet since 3:30am. Slowly, but loudly I made my way to the Labor/Delivery floor as the contractions seemed to be coming one on top of another by then. I do remember two strange things at this point: First, MANY people randomly asked my husband if it was my first birth. Later, the nurse told me this was because that gives them an indication of how much time they have to work with. And 2)I remember my husband requesting they hold the elevator for us, only to walk up to it being FULL, and I said "Huh-ah...Are you kidding!?" I'm not laboring in there with all those people! LOL
When in the LD room I immediately started undressing (!), had a contraction, then climbed onto the bed backward, essentially kneeling. At this point while putting on the fetal monitors, my L/D nurse figured out I was in back-labor and suggested counter-pressure on my sacrum. It SAVED me! Although, my husband was the only one strong enough to apply enough pressure to make a difference!! Meanwhile, a doctor entered, introducing himself (I still don't know his name, but later found out he was a resident) and when he made his way to my side, I remember hearing him say to me DURING a contraction, "Okay, Ma'am. We'll just get you your epidural and break your water, and you'll have your ba--" I responded the only way I could: non-verbally...bulging my eyes and vigorously shaking my head! When I could talk again, I said "No. Not what...I want! Birthplan...Honey, birthplan," as I pointed to my bag. When handed the big folder of papers, the doctor's eyes widened at the size. (No worries! In reality, he only needed to read the first few bullet points of the first page!) He skimmed it, and said no problem, but added, "First things first, we need to check how dilated you are." I thought, "Oh yeah. Of course," then proceeded to plead with him to lie on my side, insisting with something like "I can't do it. I just CANNOT lie on my back. Please don't make me lie on my back." He consented, and I heard him say I was 7CM!!!! A HUGE wave of endorphins rushed over me, because although I felt the urge to push while kneeling in the van and lobby, I didn't want to get my hopes up for anything more than 4CM. So, the next choice was whether to break the waters or not. And I was just about to decide when I felt a contraction coming on, and had an inkling it was going to break anyway. It DID! The next few contractions brought with them an urge to bear down, so he did another awkward cervical check, and...9 1/2CM! ("Yay!!") A few more contractions and my body was pushing the baby for me. I recall saying "Wooooooww" through the contractions because it was such an overwhelming physical sensation :-) I got the OK to bear-down, and several pushes (on my part) later, Monkey was here! I almost COULDN'T believe it. I mean, in my mind we had *just* arrived to the hospital, afterall, and I didn't even have an IV in!
When I saw him for the first time, my eyes went straight to his HAIR, then his face and body. He just had so much hair! One of the highlights of the whole thing, was that my friend Allison arrived just in time for his birth, and stayed until I was able to settle into my room. GaGa brought Munchkin to the hospital that night to meet his brother for the first time :-)
It was all so powerful, so wonderful - almost overwhelming.
How was it different?
I couldn't possibly list them all, but the major differences were:
1) It was a third as long! (Yay!!!)
2) It was intervention-less. In part, it was because there was simply no time for anything to be done, not even a simple HepLock, nor a more complicated epidural, nor breaking the waters early (like previous birth), and so on. But also, I was more mentally prepared and resolved about it this time; they would've had to work really hard to convince me the risks outweighed any benefit.
3) Recovery from the tear was a breeze compared to the first time around.
4) It was MUCH more physically demanding: From being on my feet, gripping the bed's side-bars, and the strength of the contractions, etc. (Honestly, I wish I was more prepared; my abs and thighs were literally fatigued and 'shaky' for weeks.)
5) It was also more 'positive' generally speaking in that the natural endorphins were stronger and/or more plentiful this time and lasted for days! Mentally, I was sharp and alert postpartum, and morale was actually high!