You know that thing they say about hormones making you forget the pain of childbirth? That must have at least some truth. Either that or you just see how fun the whole 'parenting' thing is, and decide you're ready for more.
Either way, three years after Dale's birth, we were gearing up for baby #2.
We had a new doctor, a new hospital, a new town.
Alan was due sometime right around Thanksgiving. I don't remember his actual due date. Isn't that sad? I'm fairly certain I have it written down, but still....
And that's not the only place my memory gets fuzzy:
Just like with Dale, I was induced with Alan. But this time, I'm not exactly sure what the reasoning was. I know I mentioned to my doctor being induced with my first pregnancy, so maybe he thought that was my preference. I think it was for convenience. Mine and his. I doubt either one of us wanted to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital, so he set the date for Tuesday, 9 days before Thanksgiving.
Would I do it that way again? Probably not. Did it hurt anything that it happened the way it did? Probably not.
Anyway, we headed to the hospital before dawn that Tuesday. I had hoped and hoped as the days ticked down to D-day I would go into labor on my own, all the way up to the end. But it didn't happen.
Seemed like things got down to business a little faster at this new hospital than they had with Dale. We didn't have to spend so much time on paperwork, for one thing.
I remember having barely arrived and already being ushered into the the little bitty bathroom to change into my gown. It was at that moment I had the distinct feeling to turn around and go home with a "Nevermind. I'll just keep this baby where he is."
But of course, we carried on.
While things were still getting started, we were asked if we would mind a couple of student nurses being in the room off and on. Being an agreeable person, I said, "Sure. Why not?"
By the time daylight hours rolled around I was ready for some entertainment. I was so happy to see 3 year old Dale come marching in with my parents an hour or two later.
It wasn't too long before my grandparents and then our pastor and his wife all stopped in for a quick hello and settled themselves into the waiting room.
It was nice to feel labor progressing and not be in unbearable, unending pain. I think a big part of the reason for the difference was simply how my body reacted to the induction. Whether it was a different method, or better timing, or some other issue, my body cooperated a whole lot better that time around.
And, having been through this once before, I was better equipped mentally to deal with the contractions as they picked up.
I had decided ahead of time I would experiment a bit with relaxing and breathing through each contraction, and just see how that changed my progression.
I was very pleased with how far I was able to get before requesting my epidural. I had absolutely no intentions of trying to deliver without one, but I was glad not to 'stall out' before getting it.
So, around 11 am, I had enough experimenting and asked ever-so-nicely if they would bring on the meds. Which they kindly did. While I was painfully hunched over a pillow getting a needle inserted between my vertebrae, one of the student nurses and I began a little chit-chat.
And whaddya know? Her little sister had been in the youth group Greg and I had led at our church the year before. We exchanged our "Oh! So that's who you ares!" and proceeded to visit. Awkward? A little. It wasn't exactly my best moment. But still - it was fun. And distracting. I'm thinking the anesthesiologist was probably sitting there wondering how to arrange small-town connections every time he put an epidural in a laboring woman!
It didn't take long for the epidural to do it's thing, and I was back to having fun again. And let me tell you, things were getting fun quickly.
By 11:30, my little room was full of people. Ten, if I remember correctly. Me, Greg, my mom, 2 nurses for me, 3 student nurses squished up in the corner to observe, a nursery nurse for Alan, and a student nurse with her.
The only one missing was the doctor. And.. uh... it was time.
Those few minutes waiting for him to show up seemed to take forever. It was one of the most undignified moments of my life, and yet.... it was one of the most fun. Every one was so happy! So celebratory! I'm glad Alan entered this world under such light-hearted circumstances. It has been good to look back on in all the times that followed his arrival.
Dr. C. finally made his entrance in classic Dr. C style. It's one of those 'you-just-have-to-know-him' sort of things, but he is a real character. He got gowned up and gloved up, and in what seemed like a matter of moments, Alan made his entrance at 11:40am on the Tuesday the week before Thanksgiving.
Easy peasy. No drama, no mis-haps. Twenty-four hours later we were all cozied up at home, a family of 4, and very happy to be there!