After feeling kind of out of control and scared from my birth with Twig1, I knew I wanted things to be different for Twig2's birth. I constantly told Husband that there had to be a "kinder, gentler" way.
I knew I didn't want to have a homebirth--I had traumatic memories of Twig1's birth and didn't want to associate that with home. I knew I was pro-epidural at this point (for me, not everyone). And, lucky for me, I was living in North Carolina where you can have a hospital birth attended by a midwife. So, that's what we chose. Best of both worlds...for us.
I experienced prodromal labor with Twig2 again, but at least this time I knew what was going on. As the weeks led to Twig2's eventual birth, my midwife would note the obvious contractions I was having during my office visits. She checked my progress at 37 weeks and I had dilated to 3cm. Not a lot, but something.
The next few days were maddening. I had contractions each night, all night long. Strong, but not painful. I couldn't sleep. Finally one evening after the contractions started romancing me again, Husband had enough. He called our midwife, who happened to be in the office late that evening. She told us to come in (it was 9pm at this point), so we packed up Twig1 and trudged over.
She check and I was at 5cm. She said she assumed I'd go into active labor that night, but to go home and get some rest. I went home, took something to sleep (I know...I'm so un-natural like that!), and finally rested. And then I woke up. It was 9am and there was no baby. I was frustrated beyond belief and walked around in a funk all day.
I was 37 weeks 6 days that day. In North Carolina, medical professionals cannot legally augment labor until 38 weeks, unless it is an emergency. Although, I would classify the fear of having your child in the middle of the grocery store as an emergency...apparently North Carolina does not agree. :) Somehow, by the Grace of God, our midwife figured out a way to admit us to the hospital to get things going. She was simply breaking my water, not using any drugs to get things going.
This is where things got fast but slow--beautiful in most every way.
We checked into the hospital at about 6:30pm. I was at about 6cm at that point. Still not in real active labor. Consistent, strong, yet not really painful contractions. I got 2 bags of IV fluids so they could administer the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. All the while, Pandora was singing us a sweet lullabye. By this point it was dusky outside and peaceful in our hospital room.
Our midwife came in to break my water at about 7:30pm. She said she'd be just outside in the hall reading the 2nd book of the Twilight series. :) She had been addicted to them in the last weeks of my pregnancy.
Husband and I were left alone in the dark room. It was a sweet time to talk about life, fill each other's "love tanks" a little bit, and just enjoy the quiet. The music lulled quietly in the background. It was just a really remarkably different experience than our first birth.
An hour passed and our midwife popped back in. She moved slowly and quietly--most likely taking her cues from our demeanor. She checked me and let me know it was time to push. She sat at the end of my bed. On my bed. With just gloves on. No crazy helmet mask thing. No crazy gauze scrubs. There was just one little spotlight on the room, which only lit up the important areas. There was only 1 nurse, and she was quiet as a mouse. It was utterly calm, no panic, no fear, no rush.
I pushed for 15 minutes and then our sweet little Twig2 joined our quiet little party. It was blissful. So calm, so lovely, so special.
I got my "kinder, gentler" experience. I loved every moment of Twig2's birth. Now, 2 1/2 years later--I'm getting ready to do it again. In Indiana, you cannot have a midwife attend a hospital birth...so...Twig3's birth will be it's own unique experience. Isn't that how they all go, anyway? :)