Audrey is 3 weeks old this weekend (since Friday morning), and I think we're starting to adjust to being a family of four!
A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on Clara's reaction to Audrey, and how we tried to prepare her for being a big sister. I also talked about how my feelings about Clara had changed and suddenly I felt as though I had to protect Audrey from Clara and that Clara was suddenly a threat. Clara also seemed to 'grow up' overnight, and I suddenly seemed to expect her to behave in a much more 'grown up' way than I should have expected from a not-yet-2-year-old. I'm not proud of these feelings, but I think they are probably normal and I have been trying really hard to combat these feelings by putting Audrey down at certain times a day so that I can spend some proper one-on-one time with Clara.
Interestingly, Brian's feelings about Clara have not changed at all, but his feelings toward Audrey are different than his feelings with Clara were. He has never been a 'baby' person, and he wasn't excited about doing the 'infant' thing all over again - I can respect that. When we had Clara, however, he didn't have any other children to compare her too and despite the fact that he didn't really LOVE dealing with her colick, and diaper changing, and the fact that she didn't react at all when he made funny faces at her, he loved her to bits and she was his DAUGHTER. With Audrey, however, he feels more irritated by her fussing than he ever was with Clara, because now he has a super-fun-and-exciting toddler to compare her to, and Audrey just really isn't as fun to him. I get that also, and I know that he still loves Audrey to pieces. I think it's good too, that we both recognize these differences so that we can make a conscious effort to spend our time with each daughter, so hopefully if we have an obvious 'Daddy's Girl' and 'Mommy's Girl', it won't be because we treated them differently.
Clara still loves her baby sister. We were having some behavior issues with her a week ago, but since Brian has gone back to work and I began babysitting again (so she had her friend to play with), and her routine has started to return to what she knows, she has actually been a lot better. She talks about Audrey all the time, and constantly wants to touch her and hold her. She does sometimes struggle with 'sharing' things with Audrey - like her crib and high chair, and is a bit overly concerned over whether or not something is hers (That's Mine!!!) or Audrey's, but she has never asked us to put Audrey down or seemed jealous if we are spending a lot of time dealing with Audrey. I am sooo glad for this!
Audrey is definitely turning out to be 'suckier' than Clara ever was. Although Clara was colicky until she was six weeks old, we learned quickly that there was nothing we could give her that would help her. It didn't matter how much I fed her, how much she was held, whether she was burped constantly or given oval or colick medications; she didn't want to be swaddled, and didn't seem to care if her diaper was clean or dirty - she just cried. Audrey fusses predictably for a couple of hours in the evening, but it seems directly related to gas and although it's often difficult to get her to pass this gas, she will settle down afterward and be relatively amiable until the next day when her fussy-gassy time comes again.
Unless we put her down.
I recognized when Audrey was still in utero that she was probably going to be a 'cuddlier' kid. How did I know? Well, I didn't 'know', but I suspected partly because I was hoping for a 'cuddler', and she did some things differently than Clara did.
1. Audrey didn't stretch out as much as Clara had in utero. Clara was often stretching in such a way that seemed as though she was trying to make herself as straight as possible. Audrey would stretch a bit, but it would involve just her legs - I assume she remained bent at the waist, and only stretched her legs out a bit.
2. Audrey didn't seem to mind having her space crowded. I remember with Clara, if I sat too close to a table or something, and my belly was at all pressed on by anything, Clara would continuously kick at that location until I moved away from whatever was crowding her space. She also responded quickly if I pushed on or poked at my belly. Audrey didn't do this - she didn't seem to care if my belly was leaning against anything else, and I even caught myself sleeping almost entirely on my belly a few times, and she never seemed to mind. She was also much more difficult to 'wake up' if I was concerned that she hadn't moved in awhile and tried to wake her by poking and prodding at my belly.
Now that Audrey is 'out', my suspicions have been confirmed. Despite the fact that I don't actually carry Audrey around as much as I expected I would, I do wear her in a carrier occasionally, and she is perfectly comfortable in it. If I tried to wear Clara in a carrier, she would freak out about being held too tightly and never settled down. Clara was also more comfortable from birth on a flat surface than Audrey has been. If I lay Audrey down in her crib or bassinet, she doesn't completely settle, whereas she is better in a car seat or the high chair (which sits her in a similar position to her carseat), and she is always MOST comfortable if she is being held. I've actually given up trying to make her sleep in her bassinet for the time being, because I get much more sleep if she sleeps in bed with me. I NEVER thought I would do this, but I'll get into that maybe another time.
Audrey is also much less concerned about noise than Clara ever was. When Clara was born, I was advised to continue life as usual, and not to do things like 'keeping the house silent' when she was napping, because then she would always need silence to nap, etc. and we would always be walking on eggshells. I think this was great advice, and definitely true for families who often listen to music and don't want that to change. I wish I had maybe been more attuned to this when Clara was an infant, because our home is actually quite musical - however, after she was born, I found that finding music to play, creating a playlist or choosing cd's was just another thing to do and so our home actually remained quite silent most of the time and after awhile we found ourselves actually trying to 'not make a sound' after Clara was put down for a nap. It became nearly impossible for Clara to sleep if we had company because she did become used to silence. This was annoying, but I had to realize that our home really was generally quiet, so I couldn't expect her to expect anything different. Audrey, however, has become very accustomed to loud, sudden noises and doesn't seem bothered by either. I know that now she is an infant, and this could change - but I suspect that the noise level in our house will remain louder than it ever was when Clara was a baby, and Audrey will adapt to that.
I could probably blog forever about the differences I've experienced with parenting both girls at this age, but for now I'll end there. I have heard some mothers say their babies were like night and day different from birth, and some mothers who say their babies were actually very much the same. In some ways I can say both about my girls so far, and in some of these ways I think their differences/similarities are affected by how we are treating them the same/differently, and in some ways they are affected by their personalities. And some things I have absolutely no idea about!
Can you tell I'm on Cloud 9?
The one thing I think at this point - when it comes to parenting, I will never be an expert, and it doesn't matter how many children I have or how long I have been a mother. I think I could have 12 children and although some things would get easier, and I would get better at recognizing certain things - there would always be things that would be so much different because of each child's personality and because of the circumstances each child is born into - nothing is ever really 'the same'.
How were your babies the same or different? Did you recognize their differences or similarities as being part of their personalities, or a result of how you parented them, or their situation?
When Audrey was born three weeks ago, we were a bit stunned when we saw her face and realized how much she looks like her sister. Almost exactly at times, and if our photos weren't dated, I think we might struggle to figure out which girl was which. Here are some photos of the two girls in the first two weeks of their lives - can you tell which baby is Clara, and which is Audrey? Brian said even he couldn't do this...
Just a note: there are 5 each of Clara and Audrey, and I chose photos that were deliberately similar so in #1 and #2, one is Clara and one is Audrey and in #3 and #4, there is one of each also, and so on...
10.Can you tell?
Before any of you can say that Audrey is NOT actually a slow eater, because your child took twice as long to nurse, I will preface this by saying that Clara took 10 minutes flat - and both breasts were emptied. I was spoiled, I realize this...
There are things I love about breastfeeding. I love having that bit of 'us' time with my baby that no one else can really share with us, and I love that it involves uninterrupted cuddle-time.
There are also things I dislike about breastfeeding, which aren't actually specific to the feeding itself, but to the dynamics involved in working around feedings, and working feedings into a schedule.
Like that moment in the mall when you have about 45 minutes until the shops close (loads of time, right?) and you're just about to arrive at your favourite store when your baby starts fussing and you realize it's feeding time again... so you have to turn around and find a comfortable place to hang out and hopefully when baby is done you will still have time to look around? I breastfed Clara for just over a year, at which point she seemed completely uninterested in continuing, so I held on to one or two feedings daily as long as I could but it was all over by 14 months. So, it's been about 9 months or so of not breastfeeding, and I had completely forgotten how inconvenient it can be!!!
Or, when you're at a family gathering and suddenly baby is hungry and you know all of the (many) seniors in the room will be horribly offended if you pull out a boob right there, but there's NO WHERE ELSE TO GO!!!
Or, you sit down (with your quiet baby beside you) to a nice dinner at a restaurant with your husband and the meal takes just long enough to arrive that baby has gotten hungry again...
These are all selfish annoyances, I know, and for the moment I just feel like indulging my whiny-ness. So judge me.
To add to my selfish frustration, I seem to now have a baby who takes FOREVER to eat. I haven't actually timed it, it might only be like 20-30 minutes, but it's WAY longer than it took Clara, and it's completely different. When Clara nursed, she would 'glug glug glug' and be done in five minutes per boob, and seem drunk on milk when she was finished.
Audrey doesn't nurse this way. Audrey will take a sip, then lay back to enjoy it - possibly like a nice glass of wine. A nice glass of wine, however, doesn't start spraying as soon as you've taken a sip, so I'm constantly having to watch what she's doing so I can catch the moment she lets go to stop the flow. Argh. She won't be done, however, but simply taking a break for a minute or maybe six.
And this is adorable... but ANNOYING!!!
At first, I thought she wasn't getting enough milk, or that she was simply 'done' eating. But then she would want food again in about 20 minutes, (obviously) which I definitely can't sustain long-term.
I think I have figured out now, that she's just a slower eater than Clara was. And with her, I can't just sit down and relax with a book, because I have to be on alert to throw in a boob pad when she decides to take a short breather. I've also started burping her at regular intervals throughout the feeding (with Clara, it was just once between sides), just for something to do really... and I suppose it's possible that she's stopping to let the milk settle anyway.
In a way, it's nice, because it does give us more 'cuddle time', which will be a lot more fun after I've found some sort of 'How to be a Mom of 2' groove. In the meantime, though, it's a bit annoying...
When I first started thinking ahead to when my second baby would be born, and realized that my first baby would still be less than 2 years old at that time, I started planning how to make this transition for Clara as easy as possible.
First, we planned some of her big 'changes' to be as far away from the time of Audrey's birth as we could.
We introduced the toddler bed to Clara's room in August - which we felt was still a bit young for Clara, but she needed to move before Audrey needed it and we thought it would be easiest to have it available to her before she was even aware of another baby. This one was easy - Clara was so excited to have the toddler bed, that she moved into it the night we moved it in and has never looked back to her crib.
We weren't thinking about potty training until Clara started having tantrums while changing her diapers and WANTED to start using the potty, so we got that (mostly) done ahead of time also.
We would like to wean her from her soother (or, 'gummy' as she calls it for a reason unknown to us) in the not-too-distant-future, but we plan to wait on that now until at least after Christmas.
Other than that, the biggest thing I did to (try to) prepare Clara was to talk about the baby. She moved into a toddler bed, and I would mention occasionally how 'the baby' would sleep in the crib. I would tell her there was a baby in my belly, and if we ever saw a newborn out in 'the real world' (a place I don't venture to often) I would remind her of the baby in my belly and tell her that baby was going to come out soon. She seemed to 'get' this on some level, and even started hugging and kissing my belly, which was adorable. We also had a book we read to Clara often (and she became quite obsessed with it), that talked about a little girl who's mother left her house for a couple of days and returned with a baby - I would read it to her and draw all of the parallels I could find.
Clara and Audrey's First Meeting
Then I planned for the introduction itself. Clara was used to staying over night with her Grandparents by now, so I didn't worry about this being stressful for her.
I was determined, however, that Clara was to be the FIRST visitor at the hospital to see her new baby sister. Brian's parents brought her to the hospital, and then they waited for about half an hour to give us a chance to introduce the girls.
I made a point of repeatedly telling Clara that the baby in my belly was Audrey, and now she's out - I have no idea if she understands, but it's worth a try, right?
Clara was so excited to see Audrey. Her voice has developed into the highest possible human registers (sometimes I'm sure only dogs can hear her), and she squealed 'BABY!' repeatedly to anyone around. She will also announce 'Tha's Audjee' to new visitors.
When we got home from the hospital, we sent Clara with Brian's parents again to meet us there. Brian and I stopped for cupcakes on our way for 'Audrey' to bring to her big sister. We brought them in and told Clara 'look what Audrey brought for you', and the first thing Clara did was pick up a cupcake and try to give it to Audrey.
She loved 'holding' Audrey, and will frequently announce 'I 'old 'er' to us and sit down on the couch with her arms outstretched towards Audrey.
She will then lean forward to kiss Audrey, and squeal 'Hey, Babeeee!' (highest possible registers), and occasionally poke her in the eye.
Not to say she hasn't been jealous, because her behaviour since Audrey's birth has been trying at the best of times. Luckily, however, she doesn't seem to have realized that Audrey is the cause of all of the upheaval in our home. Brian has been home for almost two weeks now, and Clara is loving the attention but it has definitely thrown off her regular schedule.
Suddenly, she seems hyper-active almost all the time, and has started defying us in ways she never did before. Putting her to bed at night used to be a breeze - now she will run around the house trying to escape us, saying 'I don't want to nap!'
I have also noticed my feelings toward Clara have changed. I feel awful admitting this, but I'm hoping that maybe it's at least a little bit normal.
Clara is no longer 'my baby', and that place has now been taken by someone else. As a mother, I think my primary response now is to protect 'my baby' above all others (this is my theory about why my feelings toward Clara have changed - I don't know if it's accurate or not). With Clara's sudden hyper-activity, I perceive her as a potential threat to 'my baby', and I suddenly find myself wary of her.
I still love her to death, but my patience for her is much thinner, and I find myself wanting her to be kept away from me (and Audrey, who is often in my arms). I realized this change of behaviour (in myself) a couple of days ago, and since then I have made a point of putting Audrey down sometimes so that I can spend time with Clara without worrying about Audrey getting kicked in the head or poked in the eye with a crayon. This has helped a lot, I think, and gives me a chance to really spend time with Clara - which has been difficult for the last month or so.
How did you (or do you plan to) prepare your children for younger siblings? How did they react? Did you find your feelings toward your older child changing somewhat when younger siblings were born?
After we were moved to the delivery room, I was given the smallest dose of oxytocin to encourage my contractions to regulate and become stronger. Gradually, the contractions became slightly more painful and I began to think about the epidural. When I was in labour with Clara, I was already in so much pain by the time they gave me an epidural that I didn't notice the needle, but I knew that this time I didn't want to wait until that point - so, like the big wuss that I am, I began to worry about the epidural needle...
This was when I realized that there was NO WAY I should attempt to labour with no epidural - if I was already afraid of the pain of the epidural needle, never mind the actual pain of labour. I think I would have stopped at one child if I had lived before the time of epidurals...
I'm fuzzy on the actual times, but it was probably around 3am that the resident came in to me my epidural. Initially I was nervous about the fact that she was a resident - I thought resident=inexperienced, but she DEFINITELY knew what she was doing. With Clara's birth, I never felt as though the epidural made a difference - this time I could feel the epidural working almost immediately. I couldn't sleep, because I was too excited, but I had a couple of hours where I could rest. Also, because I knew that Clara's labour was longer and more difficult because I was unable to relax and she wasn't able to move down, I made a conscious effort of relaxing against any contractions I felt this time.
I've been informed that the epidural research at the University in the city we live in is actually quite advanced - more than a decade ago, they started using a 'walking epidural', which makes you able to feel all of the pressure of contractions and labour, but not the pain. This meant I could clearly feel every contraction - they just didn't hurt.
About an hour after I was given the epidural, the resident came in and broke my water. She came in talking about how I would be her 'hero' because she had just attempted to break another woman's water and it was evidently made of steel because she was unable to break it and she informed me that my water would break easily and make her feel better. I knew that this resident had been awake since before my appointment the previous morning (going on 20 hours at LEAST), so I was a bit nervous about her abilities at that point. There's a serious flaw in a system that has resident doctors working 24+ hours at a stretch, but anyway...
She did successfully break my water easily, and unlike my experience with Clara - there was no sudden change in contractions.
Gradually I could feel the contractions increase, although they never did get really strong or regular - I would have 3-4 strong ones about 2 minutes apart, then I would have about 10-15 minutes of weaker ones. The oxytocin was gradually increased over the time I was there until it was at about half the full amount they would give me.
The resident doctor had said she wanted to be the one to deliver my baby, but baby waited and the resident left at about 7:30am. She informed me, however, that my OB/GYN would be notified that I was in, and because it was a weekday she would come in to deliver my baby.
By about 8:30am, the contractions were starting to get as uncomfortable as they had been when I was walking in the assessment ward earlier. I was beginning to focus on breathing in order to get through the pain. (And this is WITH an epidural... I'm not winning any awards for strength or bravery here...)
It was at this point that my OB/GYN walked in the door, still in her coat and high-heeled boots. She checked my cervix and said the baby was 'right there', and that I was fully dilated. She told me that if I wanted to start pushing, I was ready to have this baby! She also informed me that she was due in the O/R, but would wait with me if I wanted to start pushing right away. My other option would be to wait - maybe until my contractions felt stronger - and have a resident (read: stranger) deliver my baby.
I wanted to start pushing now.
They got the room ready, and lifted the bed and dropped the foot of it. I hadn't remembered any of this from Clara's birth, so I found it interesting.
By 8:40am, I was pushing.
Maybe it was because my contractions weren't quite strong enough, or maybe it was because of the epidural, but I felt a little bit unsure about what was happening as I was pushing. I couldn't feel the baby moving at all. I could feel the contractions, and knew when to push, and the OB/GYN and another resident that was with her were encouraging me to push but it felt like nothing was happening for a long time (in reality, it was only about 15 minutes).
Out she came! This time there was no episiotome, and according to the resident only a 1st (maybe barely 2nd) degree tear. Also, there was no suction involved to pull her out.
She was placed immediately on my chest - another thing I don't remember from Clara's birth. She cried while the umbilical cord was cut, and I pushed out the placenta. Actually, if all of this happened with Clara, I remember none of it. Excuse the gross picture, but this was the most beautiful moment...
She weighed 7 pounds and 9 ounces.
The first thing I thought was how much she looked like her sister...
After the nurse left the room, Brian and I looked at each other and one of us said "So, what is this little girl's name?". We had both decided that 'Audrey' was our first choice on our list, but we didn't want to commit to it until after she was born. We both still felt like it was the best choice.
Audrey Grace Rayne. (Rayne comes from my Dad's names, Randy Wayne)
My recovery was incredible. After I had Clara, I couldn't walk normally for about 6 weeks. The morning after I had Audrey, I got up and showered and started packing up my hospital room. Audrey slept through the night (unlike Clara, who was colicky and cried for approximately 6-8 hours straight every night for about 6 weeks) so I was comparitively feeling great! We had some things to pick up from the grocery store on our way home, and we did this together with Audrey.
Despite the fact that the pattern of Audrey's birth - oxytocin, epidural, doctors breaking water - was the same as Clara's, the experience was so much better, and my recovery was (is, I guess I'm not totally 'recovered' yet) so much faster.
Read Part 1 Here.
As we were heading up the elevator - it was probably about 9pm on October 5th - to the 4th floor Labour Assessment ward, I had one serious contraction in the elevator that almost took me off my feet. I was so excited that this might finally be 'it', and that my body had actually gone into 'labour' by itself this time.
When we got to the room, the nurses strapped me up to their monitoring equipment, and immediately I knew the contractions had subsided. Not gone away entirely, but had lessened to the point that the nurses looking at the strip would say 'Yeah, I think this is a contraction right here...' I was pretty disappointed. They monitored me for 20 minutes, and my 1 minute apart strong contractions were now about 6 minutes apart and not really doing anything at all.
The doctor checked my cervix, and I was at 4cm now - which was 1cm more than I had been at the morning's appointment, which was a good sign. I don't really know how this works medically, but somehow at 4cm they determine that a woman is 'officially' in labour and at this point (and not before) they are willing to give oxytocin in order to speed things along.
Note that I had initially been adamantly opposed to being induced...
I must have mentioned my whole 'I want to have a baby on Thursday night to work around my piano schedule' thing at the hospital, because the doctor was discussing it at the nurse's station when the resident who saw me that morning overheard and recognized who she was talking about. She popped in to say hi and explained what they could do for me with the oxytocin, etc. but recognized that I was hoping to have everything go naturally this time so she encouraged me to walk the halls for awhile to see if I could 'jiggle' the baby out on her own :)
So, I changed into my newly purchased 'jammies' that I had bought for this very occasion!
So I walked, and at first it seemed to be working really well. The contractions almost instantly got stronger and became so strong after only 10-15 minutes that I could hardly walk through them. Brian and I were joking and laughing (I discovered it really hurts to laugh while having a contraction), but occasionally I would have to stop and grab the wall because it hurt so badly. After a few laps of the hall, I wanted to go back to the room and sit down to rest. When I returned to the bed and sat down, the contractions again diminished to almost nothing.
I had a bath in the hospital's beautiful jacuzzi tub but couldn't enjoy it because my contractions were still barely there, and I was stressing out about the 'what if' of having to go back home AGAIN not knowing what to expect next.
Only when I walked did they become stronger. I joked that they got stronger the further I got from the nurse's station (which seemed to be true) and although they weren't doing much while I was sitting in bed, I'd probably have the baby in the parking lot if I left...
By about 12:30-1am ish, I was back in bed and frustrated that my contractions didn't seem to want to go anywhere.
It was around this time that the resident doctor returned and said this. "Ok, do you want to go home (and wait out the contractions to see if they do anything) or do you want to have a baby?"
I didn't even think. I just spoke. "I want to have a baby!"
I felt relief. Suddenly I didn't care that I hadn't wanted to be induced or even to have an epidural if I could handle it (I suddenly knew I couldn't and I didn't care). I knew what to expect from oxytocin - I had it with Clara - with her it meant 6 hours of difficult labour and then a baby! I could handle that. At least I could know that soon it would be OVER.
I realized something about myself at this moment... as much as I didn't want to repeat the pain of my labour with Clara, it was much, MUCH more terrifying to me to wait and NOT KNOW what was going to happen. The thought of going home again to wait filled me with dread, and THAT - the not knowing - I couldn't handle. I suddenly could see why someone would opt for a planned C-section, for no other reason than just to be able to KNOW what was in store for them.
Am I a horrible person?
I had wanted to get a midwife. I had argued for the benefits of a home birth, and how beautiful, etc., etc., it could be... Not that I know anything about that, really, and maybe the labour and birth WOULD have somehow been more beautiful, but the waiting... the weeks leading up to the birth would have been insanely stressful for me. They already were.
Especially since my body seemed to be saying 'You're in labour!!!'... 'You're NOT in labour!'... 'NOW you're in labour....' ... 'or, maybe not...' I couldn't take that for another couple of weeks, or even a few days.
My husband, at this stage, could not hide his amusement. He snickered and joked about how I had wanted a homebirth (which he had always been opposed to), and openly laughed at me.
I really want to be more of a 'hippy', but I'm just not...
And by the way - I hate camping.
So, somewhere between 1 and 2 on the morning of October 26th, I was taken to the delivery ward to get ready to have this baby!
To be continued...
As I posted earlier, I had one 'false alarm' where we went into the hospital - I was having contractions - but ended up going home because the contractions weren't doing anything or going anywhere. Throughout the week, I kept feeling contractions - some stronger than others - but nothing that was strong enough or lasted long enough for me to think it was time to go to the hospital again. I didn't want to be wrong again, so I told my contractions they would have to 'prove themselves' to me before we would go through the whole ordeal of making arrangements for Clara to go somewhere for night and we waited for 3 hours at the hospital before being sent home again.
I know I probably shouldn't have felt this way, but I was really starting to feel like we were taking advantage of family - we had people watch her quite frequently while I was pregnant and exhausted - and I was impatient to stop needing them so much. And as I said at my 39 Week Update - I was just tired of being pregnant!
This story starts last Thursday (October 25th) morning at my weekly OB/GYN appointment. My doctor had a resident working with her, who was the only one present for most of my appointment. The resident just happened to be one of the doctors who saw me at my false alarm the previous Saturday, so we had a bit of a chat while I was there. I told her I was hoping to have the baby on a Thursday night so I could have more time off from teaching piano - I had told my students 2 weeks off, which, if I went into labour sometime during my lesson week (Tuesday to Thursday) I would have to go back to work EXACTLY two weeks from giving birth, whereas if I went into labour at the end of my lesson week, I would have the extra Friday to Monday off.
Back to the point - as a resident, she didn't know immediately about my previous pregnancy or that I had told my OB/GYN at my last appointment that I didn't want my membranes stripped.
To explain that a bit, I was averse to having my membranes stripped because when my water started 'leaking' with Clara, causing me to be induced, I had thought the leaking may have been a result of the membrane stripping - thus causing the need for induction. I was determined to do everything possible to avoid induction this time, and in my mind that included NOT having my membranes stripped. Also, I had heard of a couple of people who blamed a still birth on having their membranes stripped, which my OB/GYN had assured me was not possible, but at the moment I wasn't entirely convinced. And although I knew that no doctor would do it if they believed it could cause a stillbirth, I know that even doctors don't know everything and there are inevitably things that modern medicine does that still cause more harm than we know.
So, the resident doctor was encouraged by the fact that I was already 3cm dilated, and 75% effaced and told me I would probably go in to labour within a few days. I informed her about my last pregnancy and how I was 3cm dilated at least 2-3 weeks before Clara was born, which surprised her. I couldn't help but be a bit hopeful - they say the second baby usually comes sooner than the first, right? Maybe this time I would actually have the baby early!
She also started informing me of the pros and cons of stripping membranes. I realized that I had not heard (or didn't remember) this particular chat from my pregnancy with Clara, so I didn't interrupt her. She told me how it releases hormones that usually result in a LOWER likelihood of induction.
Wait... having my membranes stripped makes it LESS likely for me to be induced?
She explained that although it doesn't hugely decrease the chances, it does seem to decrease them somewhat. I explained my theory that my water had 'leaked' with Clara as a result of stripping membranes, and she said that if stripping membranes were to cause water to break, it would almost certainly be immediately noticed because the break would be right at or near the opening of the cervix. She explained that if I was 'leaking', the leak was almost guaranteed to have been higher up on the sac, which could not have been caused by membrane stripping.
So, now that I was convinced membrane stripping actually carried less risks than NOT membrane stripping (in avoiding inductions, anyway), I told her to go ahead.
I have to mention also, that this particular resident doctor seemed to have an incredibly soft touch or something, because this time it didn't hurt AT ALL to have my membranes stripped. Last Saturday at the hospital, she had also suggested I stick my fists under my butt when they did the cervical exam, which opened things up and made it a lot less uncomfortable than it usually was...
Anyway, nothing immediately happened and I went home hoping and praying that this baby would come in the next few days as the resident had predicted.
At 4 that afternoon, as I was teaching my second last student for the week, I began to feel contractions. As before, I wasn't going to assume they were 'serious' until they 'proved themselves' to me, so I casually started timing them on my contraction timing app. They were coming every 10-15 minutes, and weren't really increasing in strength at all. Brian's parents sometimes pick up Clara for supper and the evening while I'm teaching piano, so she was with them for the evening. Since I was done teaching at 6:30 and I still had a few items on my list to buy for the baby, Brian and I had planned to go to the mall that evening. I figured it would be good to go ahead with this, to encourage the contractions - it was Thursday night, after all!
The contractions continued at semi-regular intervals, but still refused to get any stronger throughout our shopping trip. All of a sudden, they seemed to get rapidly closer together and I started timing them again. They were coming about 1 minute apart, and lasting 40-60 seconds. I still wasn't convinced they were 'anything', because they weren't really getting any stronger, but since Clara was with her Grandparents already anyway, we decided it was a good night to go to the hospital - even if it was another false alarm. So we called my in-laws and asked them to keep Clara with them until further notice.
Contractions continued and even started getting stronger in the car, and as I walked into the hospital I had one that took my breath away and I nearly had to stop walking. As we were in the elevator going up to the Labour Assessment ward, I had one that made me grab the railing and I almost fell over. We started getting excited...
Grab My Button
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.pinkbears.ca" title="On Pink Bears and Pacifiers"><img src="http://www.pinkbears.ca/images/grab-my-button.png" alt="On Pink Bears and Pacifiers" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
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