Peter's birth story was easy to write. A clear beginning, middle, and end, only nine hours start to finish. I (along with most everyone else) expected this birth to be similar, possibly faster because "second children are always faster."
Anne does not believe in stereotypes.
Christmas Day I woke up to some light bleeding. I called the midwife; she wasn't concerned and said to let her know if it got worse. I called back in the evening because it was still going. Not heavy, no other symptoms, baby was moving fine, but it hadn't stopped. She said that was unusual, but could just be a symptom of early labor. Unconcerned, I went to bed.
I woke up at 4AM to a small gush of bleeding and two sizable clots. Called the midwife again (poor lady). She said it probably wasn't a concern, but since we had house guests (my in-laws) who could watch Peter, she thought it would be safer to come into the hospital and get checked. We got there around 5AM. Nothing was obviously wrong, but the baby had an aggravating habit. For about 40 to 50 minutes, all would be well. Then, without any explanation, fetal heart rate would plummet for a second or two. The midwives (shift change at 7AM) were reluctant to let me go while that was still happening. Also, contractions were picking up slightly in frequency and intensity, so they hoped I might progress into real labor.
An ultrasound showed normal amniotic fluid levels, which shot one theory of the irregular heart rate. I didn't seem to be particularly in labor. Around 11:30AM, after 90 minutes of consecutive good heart rate (finally!), I was discharged.
I went home, had lunch, and took a nap. In the evening, we had dinner with my in-laws; I had rice and applesauce, not confident anything else would stay in my stomach. The contractions were definitely stronger, but still very irregular. I would have a few that were 2-3 minutes apart, then 15 minutes before the next cluster started. Oh, and there was a blizzard developing. Based on the forecast, the midwife advised that I come back to the hospital.
I checked in around 7PM. After a very brief stay in triage, they were confident I was in labor. Effacement and dilation seemed to suggest that this baby might be born before midnight. I was moved to a private room. Where I would labor until 6:15AM the next day. Stay tuned for Part 2!