Working in Silicon Valley we have the opportunity to support many engineers and science-minded clients. In this post our client, Lindsay, shares the story of both of her birthing experiences, which she aptly describes as “similar yet different.” Like Lindsay, we too value evidence and expertise. AND we also encourage our clients to go inward, discover their voice, and trust themselves. Because in birth (and parenting... and life) one size just doesn’t fit all. We are heartened to hear that after her second birth, this scientist believes she learned to trust her gut more and that she grew even more in her confidence as a mother. We can get behind those outcomes!
As I progressed through the nine months of my second pregnancy (which seemed to go so much faster than the first) it started to resonate with me that being pregnant with, and then giving birth to, a second child (like doing anything for only the second time) combines new and old experiences; things that are similar, yet different.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, really. The process of giving birth is ancient: older than humans, older than our ape and monkey cousins, older than mammals, as old as some of the first animals. Literally everyone has at least one personal experience with the birthing process.
As a second-time mom, I have been through the process of giving birth once - and while the first birth didn’t go exactly how I imagined, nothing went wrong, and I hoped that the second birth would go just as well - if not, hopefully, even better (similar, yet different). I knew that the giving birth for the second time would not be the same - this was a different baby, and I am not the same person I was two and a half years ago. So, as I am a scientist down to my bones, and it is in my nature to seek expert advice and help from someone who knows more than I do, just like with my first, we hired a doula. A different one this time - since we had moved in the intervening years - and with a different style than before that I hoped would be more suited to the experience I wanted this time around (similar, yet different). (A completely random similarity: both doulas had daughters who were pregnant and due shortly after me.)
Two days before my son was born, I had false labor starting in the morning, and made a trip to the hospital at the advice of the nurses on the phone, only to be told after a quick examination that today was not the baby day, and was sent home to rest. [Similar, yet different: with my daughter there was no false labor - I worked up until two days before I went into labor, and spent the day before I went into labor relaxing around the house and going out to dinner with some friends.]
The day before my son was born, we got up and went to a friend’s baby shower, and had a relaxing day. It wasn’t until the evening, after putting my daughter to bed, watching TV with my husband and my mom, that I started to feel contractions again. We called Wendy to talk about our hospital trip the day before, and how I was feeling some contractions now, but that I was wary of them stopping again. In the next hour or so, they persisted and I started to feel that I had to stand up and walk around while we watched TV. Around 10pm my husband and I lay down in bed and he began to time the contractions - for an hour they were consistent in duration and frequency. We called Wendy to tell her it looked like things were happening this time - and she came over. I got into the shower as my husband packed up the car. As soon as Wendy arrived, she set me up with a TENS machine, which would wind up as a wonderful thing that helps me through the rest of labor. [Similar, yet different: with my daughter, I went into labor in the very early morning - the contractions started around 4:30 in the morning after we were awakened in the middle