My first pregnancy was perfect. My labor experience came straight out of a text book. My delivery was a breeze. Because I did what I was supposed to and everything came out fine, I thought, “Ehhh, I can let go a little bit.”
My first indulgence was drinking my beloved Coca Cola. Now I didn’t go hog wild, I drank 1 20oz bottle a day. My child is now 10 years old and he is probably the most hyper of my kids. So my immediate take away Lesson #1. When the nurse and doctor recommend not eating or drinking something during pregnancy, listen. There’s a reason why there are diet and food restrictions. They tell you to limit caffeine. Now I know why.
I also didn’t eat as healthy. I ate more junk food. I did gain the recommended weight gain of 25-30 lbs but the difference came in my baby’s birth weight. My first baby weighed 8lbs 5oz and my second baby weighed 7lbs. A significant difference. Lesson #2. The foods and drinks you put in your body affect your baby’s development and health.
I found it harder to take naps with a toddler at home and still working 12 hour shifts. I found myself being tired more easily and probably a little bit more irritable–or so my husband says.
Lesson #3. Learn to take naps. If you have a toddler, take a nap when they nap. The chores can wait. Remember, you’re making a baby and that takes energy.
One day, my water broke. I was confused. I wasn’t have contractions, how can my water break? I called my doctor (her number was again posted on my fridge). She told me to go to labor and delivery and be evaluated. It was determined my water indeed broke and I won a stay in the hospital. I asked if I could go home until I started having contractions. I was told,”No, your water broke and we need to monitor you.” Lesson #3. Once your water breaks, you will probably be admitted to monitor the progress of your labor. If labor does not progress after 24 hours, the chances of an infection increases. Your baby was kept safe inside your uterus protected by the amniotic fluid and your mucous plug. Once those walls of safety are gone, bacteria can more easily enter and cause an infection. I started walking once again, hoping to start my labor. When I had a cervical check, I anticipated 6-7 cm, the nurse told me I was an outstanding 3 cm!? WHAT?! I told my husband, we’re going to be here forever!
I started walking, again. I started feeling those twinges but nothing that told me I was anywhere close to delivering. This time, I was able to eat dinner alongside my husband. Unlike him, I wasn’t overly thrilled. My nurse came back and monitored my baby with a Doppler. Lesson #4. If you are having a low risk pregnancy, your baby can probably be monitored with a Doppler that checks on the baby’s heart beat to make sure it is not too slow or too fast. You don’t necessarily have to hooked up to those huge monitors and be confined to bed.
It was getting close to 12 hours since my water broke. My nurse said if my labor doesn’t start soon, I would have to be induced. She suggested using a breast pump. Yes! The same breast pump you use for pumping milk. She said the nipple stimulation can start your contractions. I used the breast pump for 10-15 minutes each side. Afterwards, I felt my contraction!
Lesson #5. Again, listen to your nurse. She knows what she’s doing. I was checked again and still 3 cm dilated. It is now 3am!! I predicted I would be in labor for another 6-7 hours. Sad face emoji.
As my contractions continued, they became stronger. So strong I wondered how I did this medication free with my first one. I was confined to being balled up in my bed. I was on the brink of giving into the relief of pain medication when my nurse came back at 5am to check me again. She came back up proclaiming, “Oh my! You’re already 10 cm! I need to call your doctor!” The doctor on call came in and told me my doctor was on her way. I said, “I feel like I have to push.” The nurse said, don’t push yet. Excuse me?! How can I not push when I feel this huge urge to push?! I was told to breathe. So I breathed. It did help. If you’re breathing, you literally can not push. Try it. Lesson #6. If they say you’re not ready to push yet for whatever reason, breath. HeHeHe. Puff puff puff. Whatever is easier for you.
My baby came a little after 5am. Eric was able to cut the umbilical cord this time. Again that feeling of overwhelming love. Again, Eric held his second son throughout the night.
When our first son came to visit the next day, there was a gift for him from his baby brother. Lesson #7. It is a cute idea to give a gift for your first child from his sibling. It lets your first child know, they will not be left out with a new arrival. Let them help in a capacity that is appropriate for their age.
Breast feeding was painful. What was I doing wrong? I endured the pain. Pain that made my toes curl with each feed. I started bleeding. I wanted to give up. Then I called the lactation consultant. She told me to come in so she could see what I was doing. She cringed when she saw me. I put my baby to breast and felt the familiar pain. The lactation consultant, without breaking the latch, adjusted my arms and miraculously the pain instantly disappeared. I looked amazed because she explained what was wrong. I could have cried because I didn’t have to give up and it was so easy when I had help. Lesson #8. Get help with breastfeeding. That’s why there are nurses and lactation consultants–they there to help. Know community resources available for breast feeding help and/or support.
Though my second pregnancy experience was not perfect and there were a few hiccups along the way, I learned to accept help. I learned how to manage 2 young boys, maybe not perfectly. They were beautiful, lovable boys. They were my sons. I was enjoying my life and I didn’t even know my third one was coming soon.
Kristine Walton, RN, BSN
Wife/Mother of 5/ Registered Nurse
Contact Kristine @ kkd_2426@Hotmail.com
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