The arrival of Max was such a different experience to the one we went through with Skye. At the time, with nothing to compare it to, my labour and delivery with Skye was our normal, but I can confidently say that things with Max were so much better and more positive.
I went in on a Thursday evening with another episode of reduced movement. Max was such a busy boy throughout my pregnancy that any time he was quiet it was really noticeable. This was the second time it had happened after I'd reached term so the doctors recommended induction. At first I thought I'd still be able to go home and maybe come back in the morning but they meant there and then so I was admitted that night and after monitoring and various other things the pessary was put in at about 2am.
We'd been told it could take hours, possibly days, so Kevin stayed at home with Skye and didn't come to the hospital until after he'd dropped her at nursery on the Friday morning. He didn't miss much - I started having mild contractions overnight but nothing more than that. After the midwife had monitored Max in the morning and told us that it was still going to be a while, she suggested we go out for a walk and to get some fresh air in the hope that would help get things going.
That was about 10:30am.
We walked to the shops because it turned out I hadn't packed my hospital bag that well at all, especially for a stay of longer than one night, so I needed to pick up some extra things. The contractions were starting to get a bit stronger and closer together but I wasn't worried. But by the time we started to head back just over an hour later the pain was pretty bad and the contractions were only 2 minutes apart. The walk had definitely helped move things along!
I got stuck straight into the gas and air once we were back on the ward and after the midwife examined me she said I was 7cm dilated already. A couple of strong contractions later and my waters burst everywhere. That took me by surprise - I was literally standing in a puddle!
They took us over to the labour ward shortly after that and by then the contractions were pretty horrendous. I asked about other pain relief and was told it was too late. I have to admit I had a bit of a cry at that point just because it was all happening so quickly and it was a bit overwhelming. Luckily Max was taking everything in his stride and wasn't bothered at all. At least we had our playlist on the go and the music was a welcome distraction in between contractions.
I sort of lost all concept of time at that point and was just getting through each contraction as it came. The midwife was amazingly calm. I know it's their job but it's still very reassuring. Kevin did the appropriate back rubbing and soaked up all the shouting I was doing in his direction!
I think about an hour later passed and then it was time to push. It wasn't even a conscious thing this time round, my body sort of took over and I just had to push. It only took a few contractions before he arrived, while Don't You Forget About Me by Simple Minds played in the background. Actually feeling him being delivered was totally amazing. I know that's a weird thing to say given how insanely painful it is but it was also incredibly empowering and emotional, especially compared to last time where it sort of felt like it was happening to me because of the epidural and assisted delivery.
Maybe it's something to do with it being the second time that just makes you feel more relaxed once the baby is here too. With Skye I remember it being incredible to see her and hold her and talk to her but it was also terrifying and overwhelming. With Max I felt calm and more in control and like I could actually do this. It's still crazy and overwhelming and intense but in a much better way.
My body is recovering much better this time round as well. I was up and about and had some energy after only a couple of days. Sadly it didn't last long because I picked up an infection 5 days after he arrived, but apart from that I'm in much better shape than I was with Skye.
I don't feel negative about Skye's arrival because it was her story and she's one of the two best things to ever happen to me. I do feel lucky that this time round it was so much better and that I came out of it so well. And I feel totally amazed again by what the human body can do.
Women seriously are superheroes!