Short version, based on my twitter updates:
Pitocin induction, started at 11:30 am, when I was 2-3cm, 25% effaced, and -3 station
Membranes ruptured at 3pm (instead of around noon, because of hospital miscommunication, so I feel like those 3.5 hours were kind of wasted hours)Hit 4cm around 7, epidural placed by 7:30
Hit 6cm, very thin, +1 at 9
Hit 8cm, 100%, +2 at 10
Willa born with 3 big pushes at 11:21pm
My only complication with this pregnancy was gestational diabetes, which was well managed with diet. At my almost-37 week appointment, I had an ultrasound that estimated the baby at 6 lbs, 10oz, and my cervix was starting to soften. Dr R added twice weekly NSTs to my care, which I totally didn't mind because they were scheduled so that I got to leave work early 2x a week, and any time I can leave work early is good for me.
At my almost-38w appointment, she did another cervix check, and said I was at 1cm, which had me REALLY EXCITED. With Ingrid, I'd gone it for my 41w induction with nothin', had two nights of cervidil to get me to 1-2cm, and still had a pretty great birth, by my standards. To think I was already at 1 was so encouraging. She mentioned that April 1 might be a good day to induce, based on my progess at the next appointment. Dave and I got freaked out, researched a ton, and got really excited and did the final things we needed to do on our list to be Ready. We told our workplaces that it might be April 1, etc etc. So at my NEXT appointment, when I was still at just 1cm, and the OB said "Let's wait a little longer" it was kind of a letdown. We'd been excited for an April Fool's baby, we'd saved our Census form in case we could add a 4th member to the form, and I was really, really ready to be done working. I'd transitioned most of my duties, so I was just bored and waiting and ready to meet my baby. But, as I had to remind Dave, this was WHY Dr R was my OB -- she doesn't do things to accommodate her schedule, she is looking out for the best interests for me and the baby, so we had to trust her judgment not to rush. I was scheduled to have another cervix check at my Friday NST, and we discussed a Monday induction. On Friday, I had gone to 2-3, and had been passing lots of thick, clear, mucus (but not a definitive plug) and had definitely felt stabbier in the cervix, and my last NST showed more uterine activity, so I felt pretty good about it, as did Dr R. I got my orders and was told that L&D would call us on Sunday afternoon to give us a time to call on Monday morning, but it would likely be 5am. Because Ing's preschool doesn't open til 7, we booked my parents to come Sunday night and stay.
The weekend was unseasonably, record-settingly, gorgeous. Dave and Ingrid and I spent our waking hours outside -- we walked to parks, playgrounds, played in the backyard, unearthed the grill and had our first grilled meals of the season, and just had a blast. Sunday was Easter, and we set up an easter egg hunt and basket for Ingrid -- our first, since we aren't christian, we'd never bothered. In the afternoon, L&D called and said we'd need to call at 10am now, so we called off my parents, who would come the next day, and went for a long walk in the City Forest -- we had done that when I was pregnant with Ingrid, too, and it was such a sweet way to wrap up our last weekend as a family of 3, with Ingrid throwing rocks in the brook, just hanging out in the forest. We had a typical night -- and I took two benadryl knowing that I'd be sleepless if I didn't, and that I should get my rest.
Monday morning was pretty typical, except we didn't go to work, and instead got ready to go have a baby. Dave took Ingrid to preschool, where my parents would pick her up, and I hugged her in the driveway for a long time, and tried to keep it together (for her) but was just so sad at seeing off my little girl as an only child for the last time. She burst into tears, too, and was upset leaving, but Dave took her to school and her teachers immediately took her under their wing. Dave came home (and I was still crying about Ingrid) and I pulled myself together to call L&D, half expecting to be put off, and they said "Come on over!"
It took as a good hour or so to get to the actual induction. We had to register, get set up in L&D and get through all the admission questions, etc, and then my nurse started the Pitocin drip, around 11:30 and said that Dr R would probably be in around lunch to break my water. In the meantime, we were just hanging out. After the initial monitoring, I was allowed to move to the ball or chair, but they wanted me to stay on the monitors, only it was almost impossible to keep the heartrate monitor in place and get a consistent reading. It was awful, the nurse would spend half an hour juuuuust getting it, and baby would move. Finally, I just said, "I'll chase it, I've had to do it at NSTs, too" (which was true) so i was used to finding it and then having to hold the sensor in place. Of course, NSTs are 15-20 minutes, so my hand would get tired in the labor room and I'd let go for a while and she'd come check me and I'd explain I was letting my hand rest, and she'd try to place it so I wouldn't need to hold it, and it just sucked. It was the worst part of the labor, hands down. And, my doctor had still not come in to break my water, so not much was happening, but they were cranking up the pit on schedule.
It wasn't til after 3 that my OB showed up -- apparently, L&D was supposed to call her when i arrived, and never did, so she was wondering what the hell we'd done and when she came over to check on another patient, saw my name on the monitors. I don't think she was happy about it, since it meant that I'd had almost 4 hours of pit and no real action, etc. Anyway, she broke my water and there was a TON, and it just feels so weird, like you're peeing but you're not and it just kept coming. She tried to get the internal monitor in place, but baby was still -3, and she couldn't quite get it. I didn't want to labor in bed, so I tried the ball, but AGAIN, the belt monitor just wouldn't stay in place. I was seriously frustrated, but the nurse was saying now that I'd broken my waters and baby was high, there was more of a risk of prolapse. But, I realllly didn't want to sit in the bed, semi reclined, with such a high station, so we finally found that if I stood up, and held the belt in place, we could get an accurate reading. So that's what I did. I stood in place, rocked back and forth, and definitely felt a change in contractions. I hated looking at the monitor cart, and I swear that when I faced away from it, and just had Dave time them on my iPod, that they were more effective. Anyway, they were still manageable, I was playing on my ipod and Dave was watching the History channel, and we were just waiting for some progress to be made.
After about two hours of that, the nurse was able to finally place the internal monitor, which was SUCH a relief. I know that when we went through birth classes 4 years ago, that I was totally freaked out about the idea of a wire in my baby's head, but as with Ingrid's birth, the internal monitor was 1000x less annoying than the external, and made everything more tolerable. I bounced on the ball for quite a while, and then the nurse had me come in for a check and I was getting closer to 4, and thinning more, and I ended up staying in the bed after that check and sitting straight upright, with the soles of my feet together, leaning forward a bit, and definitely having to vocalize through the contractions. Because I'd been on the pit, but with intact waters, by this time my pit level was up towards 16-18 and I was feeling it.
Through my pregnancy, I'd worked with a nursing class at my university as their Real Life Pregnant Patient, and had been in their classes on campus, and taken several students to my prenatal appointments. THeir clinical rotations were on Mondays and Wednesdays, so a Monday induction meant they were on the floor, and one student had come in to help with the scalp monitor placement, and even better, the faculty member -- who I really like, anyway, and had been a great resource through my pregnancy and as i debated the induction -- came in a few times. She came in towards the end of my epidural-free labor, and was so great, talking me through the contractions, and as I was deciding about when to call for the epi -- I was really not planning on NOT having one, esp with a pit induction, since I had had such a great experience before, I was not as fearful about it (and in fact totally skipped Stadol this time, as I didn't want the fogginess, and knew the epi would be great) -- and L was great at saying "you are cranked on pit, it's going to take them a while to get here anyway, and you're at 4 already... I'd call for it if you want it." It was great to have her there at that very moment, so I called for it. She also went out and checked on the single room status, and came back and reassured me that it looked good right now, and that she'd put in a good word for me to try to make sure I got one. She left for the night, saying that she was looking forward to hearing what I'd had, and thanked me again for working with her class, and to have a good leave, etc.
SO, the anesthesiologist arrives, and I send Dave away -- he hadn't eaten, it was going to be a while, and my new night nurse was great and I felt very comfortable with sending him off. He went to the cafeteria and got dinner and called our parents to update them, and I got the epi. It wasn't quite as straightforward as the last one, but with Ingrid I'd had the head on anesthesia or something do it -- when that one happened, everyone was very "Oh, Dr Epidural, what a nice surprise to have you here!" weirdly formal, etc, and it was in in minutes. This was just a 'regular' anesthesiologist, but she was great. It took a few tries, and I was still getting big contractions pretty quickly, but the nurse was great at supporting me through it, and I kept apologizing and then apologizing for apologizing. Once it was in, it was great -- could still feel and move my legs, could feel the contractions, but not the pain. Loved it. I was also hopeful that it would help me progress faster, as it seemed to do with Ingrid. The nurse suggested a position that involved laying on my side, with my bottom leg straight and my top leg bent and leaning over the top leg. It was a position I slept in a lot through my pregnancy, actually, but she said it helped corkscrew the baby down into position. I would switch sides every now and then, and started to feel the contractions in my rectum instead of my abdomen, so I knew it was working. From then, I basically progressed about 1cm per hour -- I really wanted to avoid a 4/6 birthday for a few reasons, so I was really starting to get anxious about having the baby before midnight. I called the nurse at 11, because I was feeling more pressure without relief, could see the expected decels on the monitor, and was having BIG contractions (Dave's eyes were bugging out, and he was saying "I am so glad you have an epidural!") and I told Dave I was complete, that I had to be, so I wanted to get this show on the road. Sure enough, I was ready to go. The nurse had me do a practice push and said "okay, I'm getting Dr R (who was on the floor, waiting for me to deliver)" and she came in, put on her mask, and I pushed for 3 big pushes, and out came a baby! They'd told Dave that they'd let him discover what we had, and as he was looking for the goods, I could see that we clearly had another daughter, and he said "it's a little girl! Another girl!" as Willa was put on my chest. She was covered in vernix and seemed so tiny, we were sure she wasn't anywhere near 8lbs (well, Dave and I, I'm sure the professionals were wagering better mental guesses) and we were just amazed. Dave cut the cord, and she was placed on my chest while I delivered the placenta. I didn't have an episiotomy, but had a small tear and a couple of stitches, and once that was done, the OB and nurse just left us alone for an hour while we inspected her all over and worked on her latch and all of that. It was so different from Ingrid's birth -- even before the hematoma was noticed, there were two nurses in the room just for the baby, and two for me, and when she was born with the cord hematoma she was whisked to the warmer and APGAR'ed and cleaned up and swaddled before I got to hold her. This time the warmer never even came into play, it was just me and Dave, my dr and my nurse, and it was so calm and quiet and nice. Dave called his mom and my parents to tell them we'd had a girl (we were saving the name until Ingrid met her sister, and they didn't even tell Ing she had a sister until we broke the news) and we got into our private room and Dave slept while I just held my new daughter, totally high from the birth and amazement that we now had kids, plural!
Sex: As with the first pregnancy, we opted to not find out the sex of the baby. From the very beginning, Ingrid insisted that she was having a baby sister. It almost made us find out, just so that we could get her ready for a brother, if necessary, but we decided that the reality of having a New Baby in general wasn't going to meet her expectation, so we'd take our chances. Her insistence was almost spooky, though -- we'd talk about brothers and boys and how awesome they were, and she would agree, but them say "but, I have a sister." It was the only thing that made us have a slight preference, really -- we thought maybe a sister would make the transition easier, since Ingrid was so, so, so sure that's what she was getting, and we didn't want to ruin her day. As far as my instincts, my first thought was girl, and my dreams were of girls, and like with Ingrid, I had a dream where my mother told me it was a girl. But, I didn't quite trust the instinct, since this time I was already a parent to a daughter, so I figured that might influence my dreams and instincts anyway. I found myself using "she" as a pronoun, as did others -- my labor nurses both used she, my OB did (before any u/s, and the imaging center doesn't note it in any reports if the parents don't want to find out, so the earliest she could have peeked would have been at that 37w appt), my faculty colleague would catch herself saying "she... or he", and then my anesthesiologist was so excited to hear we were expecting a surprise, and when she heard we had a daughter that would be 4 in May, she got REALLY excited, as she had had surprises, too, with the first girl born in in May and the second in April,, 4 years later, and or kids' birth days were just a few days apart, and she said "oh, if it's a girl, you are going to have so much fun -- my girls age difference is PERFECT, and it is so much fun!" (And she actually came back up to the floor to find out, and then pop in to congratulate me and reiterate that it was the perfect age gap, and to enjoy it). Anyway, there were lots of girl vibes even before she emerged, so I thought that was kind of cool.
Name: Willa is a name we both liked, which was hard to find, and Audrey is Dave's mom's name. She has never liked that we have passed on MyLast, and when she heard the name, she was completely overcome, as no one had ever used her name before, and I THINK it makes up for the fact that the girls are MyLasts.
Data: I used twitter to keep my friends and family (and others) informed, and it was a great way to keep track of info. I didn't track every cm, because I plan on ordering copies of our records from the hospital in a few weeks or so. I did it out of curiosity for Ingrid's records when she was a year old, and was surprised at how detailed the record was (and it was a good reference to have when making the induction decision) so I figure I can get the data details when those come in.
!st vs 2nd: We both found the second time around much calmer than the first, even without my best friend there. She was invaluable at Ingrid's birth, and despite having moved to Florida since then, it was the plan for her to be here, but she got waylaid by a new immigration law regarding driver's licenses that meant that when she went to renew her license last month, her dual citizenship became an issue and the naturalization card that she has never needed since it's issue 25 years ago meant that she has no valid ID and cannot fly or drive until it's cleared up, which wasn't going to happen before the birth. But, we had good nurses, it seems like they've changed some things in general (like not having the separate 'teams' of people for the mother and the baby in the delivery room) and because she had been so great the first time, we really remembered several things for this time. She was following my twitter stream and sending me DMs of support and suggestions throughout, so her twitter-doula'ing was nice, too. :)
I skipped the Stadol this time, because I wasn't afraid of the epidural, and when I mentioned my frustration at trying to learn to nurse with all the BP cuffs and wires attached the first time, the nurse was like, we'll get one BP and then everything comes off -- and she was right, I left the delivery room with no wires, not even the IV heplock (which they'd made me keep in until discharge last time, which just kept getting in the way of trying to nurse) and it made it much easier. We had a private room this time -- again, so much better for being able to just use the bathroom when I needed to and to be able to just hang out topless to work on nursing, to have our family visit without interrupting another family, and to have Dave stay that first night. He did go home the second night, to be there for Ingrid and to get sleep, knowing I'd be home and tired the next day.