So now that I'm close to my second delivery I find myself thinking over the first. I think overall I had a good experience (for labor) but if there are ways to make the second one even better then I'm all for it. Here are a few things that I liked about my labor with Abs (and some pictures of parts of the experience):
Induction: I liked having a little bit of notice. I was very late, of course, which is why they decided to induce me but it seemed to take some of the paranoia out of the way. We were able to go to Disneyland the night before and celebrate our last night as non-parents. My parents had an 8hr drive to get to us so it was great to be able to give them enough notice that they made it for the labor and were even able to bring Jared some dinner (I wasn't allowed to eat and was incredibly jealous). I also liked knowing that when I went in they weren't going to send me home. When you are in labor they will sometimes send you home if you're not progressed enough and we live too far for me to be comfortable with that so we probably would have hung out somewhere near the hospital--not a fun thought considering the pain.
Epidural: Most people seem a little irritated with Jared when they first see this picture. It is exactly what it looks like--Jared is doing a superman pose on a rolling stool while I'm in labor. Before that we were playing volleyball with my pilates ball. We were playing and goofing around because for the first several hours of labor I didn't really feel anything. In fact, I thought the labor had stopped but during that time I dilated about 5 more centimeters. That was before my epidural. After that they broke my bag and then boy did I feel it! When it got really intense I got an epidural and I loved it. I went as light as I could handle it so that I could feel to push and while the labor wasn't exactly a breeze from that point on, it was much more bearable.
Softing Time: This is a full hour that Kaiser gives parents to bond with the new baby before they take her away to be bathed and immunized and stuff. While I didn't really get to enjoy this time because I spiked a pretty good fever and was getting stitched up, Jared got to spend almost the whole time holding Abs and falling more in love with each passing second. It was wonderful to hold, look at, and feed her so soon after labor and I believe that it was the beginning of the incredibly strong father-daughter bond that the two of them still share.
So there are a few of the things I liked. Here are few that I didn't like and will try to make sure it's different this time around:
My first nurse didn't speak very good english. On top of that she mumbled, had a strong accent and took forever to respond to our page when I was stuck in a 7 minute contraction that almost caused an emergency c-section. This time I'll request a different nurse if I don't like the one they give me.
The painkillers just made me sleepy. I was advised to try painkillers before I went with an epidural and I feel like they just made everything foggy. I couldn't sleep but I couldn't really think either and that bothered me. I'll go straight to the epidural this time if things get too difficult to bear.
The nursing staff after birth was awful. They wouldn't let any of us sleep so even Abs was awake for the first 27 hours after birth which made her impossible to feed and she screamed so much from being tired that we couldn't sleep either. Then when I finally got her to sleep the first time and was able to fall asleep myself they came in and demanded to take vitals on both of us. They woke her up and she screamed for the next 3 hours! I was so angry and so anxious to leave the hospital and get home where we wouldn't be bothered. If possible this time I will just tell them "no, come back later". As the mom I should have some say in the care of my child, right?
Chances are that this will be a very different labor and delivery than what I experienced with Abs but I think it's good to have a mental note of a few things I liked and disliked just in case. It could be any day now and it could be in a few weeks--at least I've given it some thought. Now I just need to get her things ready, buy last minute supplies, put the car seat in, pack my bag... etc. etc. etc.