With my first pregnancy, I was 41 weeks and never had a contraction or went into labor. I was finally induced because my fluid was low. Second time around, same story -- sort of. I went 41 weeks again. As someone who has done this twice, I feel that I should get some sort of dispensation -- a money-back guarantee or a "go 41 weeks, get three weeks off of colic season" deal.
But this time I went into labor on my own. I started having contractions at night. My husband and I took to the streets to walk. At first the contractions were every 20 minutes. After 20 blocks they were at seven minutes apart and my husband had us turn around, thinking that we'd have to get home in order to go to the hospital. But by the time we got back home, they were back to every 20 minutes. Where they stayed. All night.
Twenty minutes apart doesn't sound so bad. And as someone who had already had a baby with nary a contraction that was not covered by an epidural, I would have agreed. That is, until I was the one having the contractions. Suddenly I understood why those women had scheduled their second c-sections. What was I thinking?
I stayed up all night. I took three baths (they really do help). Then, first thing in the morning, we went to the doctor's office to see how my fluid was. Sure enough, I was low again, so they put me on Pitocin to start things moving along. At this point I felt like I was in the Bill Murray movie Groundhog's Day -- this was almost an exact replay of my first pregnancy. I was sure I was headed down the hall to the operating room for my second c-section. I tried to tell myself it was okay. After all, if Madonna could have two c-sections, so could I. But deep in my heart I was disappointed. I wanted to experience a "real labor."
Well, it turns out I got my wish. The Pitocin worked, my labor progressed, and soon I was in my own Lifetime movie-of-the-week, pushing and screaming, looking nothing like those actresses on TV. But like those Hollywood pictures, as soon as the doctor told us we had a healthy baby girl, my husband kissed my forehead, we looked adoringly at our baby girl, Tess, and all was right with the world.
The c-section was scary, yes. But do I look back on it with any regret? No. The vaginal delivery was plenty scary, too. Neither delivery was any less real, or more real, than the other. Both were "normal." Each of my deliveries gave me a healthy, beautiful baby. And that's all anyone can hope for.