Is giving birth the second time around easier?
That was the exact question I posted to a few mommies who’ve had more than one kid while I was pregnant with Mila. And while a few have said yes (especially my mom who claimed that I practically crawled out), and having gone through it, I can’t help but agree with one mommy who has said that it isn’t easier but merely faster.
Just like how every pregnancy is different and every kid is different, well so is every birth story. I was 39 weeks into my second pregnancy and this time around, since baby was in the right position and wasn’t high on the weight spectrum, my doctor did not perform a membrane sweep like he did the first time and allowed Mila to come on her own time.
It was Deepavali night and earlier that day I’ve had a whole lot of curry (spicy food is said to induce birth but not guaranteed, other methods include squats and sex). The time was 9ish pm and I felt very mild cramps. You’d think that I’d already know if they were contractions seeing how this was my second time around but truth be told, I wasn’t sure. I checked if I was spotting and since I wasn’t, I ignored the cramps. So, I went about my night and after putting Miles (my firstborn) to bed, I discussed it over with my husband, Jon. I already had my hospital bag packed at this point hence I wasn’t too worried but still nervous. Jon suggested that we get some rest in case baby decided to come that night. Like the first time, I took a very thorough shower and went to bed.
At about 11pm as I was texting my sister, I felt stronger cramps and when I timed it, it was about 10 mins or so apart. Once again, I went to check if there were any bloodstains on my panties but there was none so I went back to bed. Obviously, I couldn’t sleep and as I continued texting my sis, all of a sudden I felt a little wetness in my panties. At that point of time, I knew this was it. I stood up and a gush of water came flowing down. It felt warm and slimey. My waterbag broke.
I changed to some clean, dry clothes and off I went to the hospital. I got there past midnight and I remember being wheeled to the labour ward. Not that I couldn’t walk or anything but Jon insisted that I sat down which looking back, it was such a good call because another gush of water came flushing down as soon as I arrived at the ward. I was quite concerned this time, as the water was no longer clear but greenish in colour.
The nurses immediately got me to change into the hospital gown and clean underwear and strapped me to a machine that monitored my contractions and baby’s heart rate. There was no time to clear my bowels or anything of that sort like I did the first time. Curious, I remember asking the nurse if it was something serious, the fact that the second gush of water was green. She calmly told me that it was a sign that baby has passed motion inside probably due to stress and she had to call the doctor to check. At that point of time, she had also asked me to start fasting in case of an emergency C-sect because baby’s heart rate was also dropping with every contraction. Upon hearing those words, I began to worry and I remember praying so hard that baby would be okay.
The nurse came back shortly after and said that doctor has instructed her to give me an IV drip and oxygen. The doctor arrived and by that time baby had already stabilised and I was about 3cm dilated. The contractions came in fast and strong similar to what it was like with Miles and to manage the pain, I took the gas but it felt much harder to take in the gas this time around as I had the annoying oxygen tube stuck up my nose. Like my first birth, I decided against taking the epidural and having learned from the first time to be more decisive on whether or not to take the epidural, I was laser focused on managing the pain of contractions. The words of encouragement from Jon and the doctor definitely helped a lot, guiding me through my breaths and this time, instead of squeezing Jon’s hand, I ended up squeezing the doctor’s.
I am not going to lie and tell you that I was such a wonder woman, managing the pain with ease. As a matter of fact, I was still quite the drama queen and I even told Jon midway, NO MORE 3RD KID! I kept thinking to myself, when is this going to end? I thought I still had a long way to go, seeing how I was nowhere near 10 cm just yet but to my surprise, my dilation was so quick that in less than 2 hours, the doctor said I was ready to push. Those words were music to my ears. I was so ready to get this baby out!
Unlike the first time, I didn’t need a lot of cues when it came to pushing. I was more in control. I knew when I needed to take a break and whenever I felt the contraction coming, I knew then to ride it and push with all my might. My mom once told me that after the first birth, baby would just crawl out but boy, was she wrong! It was much harder to push Mila out compared to Miles possibly because my water had broken much earlier and the pathway was dry? But eventually, we got baby out and to my other surprise, she was slightly bigger and heavier than Miles, weighing in at 3.24kgs.
My second birth may have taken half the time but in terms of pain level, SAME LAH!