And on we go...
My second birth was more to my liking, although there were definite pros and cons. As my daughter was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), I had to travel well over an hour to get to my doctor and hospital (darn Oklahoma liability insurance restrictions :P). That in and of itself was not super-fun. I had another slow labor start, like I had with my previous birth. I woke up with contractions (about 7:30am), 8 days before my due date, went to Wal-mart (again), went to my little brother's high school graduation that evening, and showed up at the hospital at 1:00/1:30am at 4.5cm dilated. Contractions at this point were waaay more painful then they were with my first baby at a 4. I was crazy with the pain. I guess I just didn't know what to expect and had been so stressed (my husband had graduated and we had moved across the country less then a month before I went into labor) that I just hadn't really prepared. I fought the pain rather then giving into them, if that makes sense
I had a stupid, stupid doctor (my actual doctor was out of town) that was super-anti-VBAC. He actually had the gall to insist that I explain to him why I wanted to go vaginal instead of cesarean (in the middle of a contraction, no less) and then scoff when I said that one of my reasons was that I wanted more than 3 kids. grrr. He acted like I was placing my baby in extreme danger, listed all the tests and monitoring I needed to have done...and then proceeded to only stop by the room once for the rest of labor.
Moving on...I received my epidural at 8 cm dilated. I wondered later if I had known I was so far along if I would've just tried to go natural (they checked me AFTER they gave me the epi). Despite my earlier panicking with the pain, by that point, I felt that I was finally starting to get the hang of things. Whether or not I would've changed it, the epidural gave me a break and a chance to sleep, which was blissful because by this point (3:15-ish am) I was absolutely exhausted. I do think my epidural slowed down the labor by looking at my rate of dilation up to that point, but it really wasn't that big of deal...I got a chance to sleep and there was no harm done. One thing, though, was the the epidural didn't take well on one side, so we kept on bumping the dosage in the hopes it would even things out a bit...which is sort of did, but it also made me completely numb from the waist-down. I couldn't even feel any sort of pressure).
Anyway, fast forward a few hours and I'm ready to push. The doctor came in (this would be the first time I had seen him since he condescendingly dismissed me earlier) and had me push once. I was in a horrible position (not quite flat, but definitely not having gravity helping at all), with absolutely no help or direction from the nurse and didn't push very effectively that first try. He decided it'd be quite a while before I delivered, so he left...as in he left the hospital and went home. Well, as soon as he left, a different nurse came into the room and she actually knew what she was doing. She encouraged my husband and mother to hold up my legs, helped me sit up a little more, and told me to avoid pushing with my thighs...and around 20 minutes later, at 7:25 am, we had a baby (which, if you're keeping track, is about 24 hours from when I woke up with contractions the day before). At this point in time, there was no doctor in the room. There were only a couple of frantic nurses paging the new doctor who was still changing into her scrubs and what-not. The doctor who arrived was fairly upset with how the whole thing was handled...especially since I ended up with 3rd degree tearing because of the lack of a doctor there to help things move a bit more gently. yeeeouch. My recovery, while definitely easier then my c-section, was still pretty darn painful.
Overall, I was pretty happy with my first daughter's birth. While there were definitely things I didn't love about it (did I mention how much I abso-friggin'-lutely disliked my doctor?), it was very much a step in the right direction for me. One of the things I loved best about her birth was that I was finally able to test my body and see if it could really, truly, manage to push that proverbial watermelon out of the lemon-sized gap. I was more than a little excited and relieved to see that it, in fact, could.
Come on, y'all. I just sound stupid if I'm the only one posting birth stories. Aubrey has heard all mine already :P
ps-thanks Aubrey, Steph, and Holly for your previous input!
pps-Here's a humorous side note: I couldn't find a good spot for in the story: In the moment right after the birth, when I found out my baby was actually a girl, I was so completely and utterly relieved. T hat was truly my first thought..."Thank Heavens she's a girl". Let's just say I had A LOT of pink things on hand and my husband had been torturing me mercilessly with loads of blue-related "what-ifs".