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Once you've given birth, the second time around is much more laid back. I casually enjoyed breakfast, called family to watch the twins, and finally around lunchtime, I went to the OB's office.
What I didn't know was the entire office went to lunch at the same time, so when I got there, I found out they were unable to check me. The nurse suggested I go to the hospital to see if I was "actually in labor." This was my third baby. I had to refrain myself from making a smart comeback.
At the hospital, they told me I wasn't dilated whatsoever and suggested I walk around for an hour to get things moving. Sure enough, while I was walking, my water broke. The staff didn't believe me. That's when everything started to go south.
I look young for my age. At the time, I was 27 and I kept trying to explain that this wasn't my first birth. Heck, I had delivered TWINS vaginally two years prior to this! Yet, no one seemed to listen. They only saw that I didn't have a wedding ring on my finger and that I looked like a young mother. And the rest they assumed.
They checked again, and once again I wasn't dilated. Ricky, my husband, was keeping track of my contractions. They were about eight minutes apart, and strong. Since there was nothing the doctors could do, they sent me home. They also gave me a prescription for pills to help me sleep better. (Ummm, what?!)
Looking back, I should have refused to leave the hospital. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I was just having strong Braxton Hicks contractions. I began to question if my water had actually broken.
On the ride home, my contractions became stronger and more intense. By the time we got to the apartment, I could barely walk. Coming home to 2-year-old twins was not what I needed.
I'm a pretty mellow person, but during those contractions I was in excruciating pain. My poor mom came in to check on me and I screamed at her to get Ricky. I knew we needed to get back to the hospital right away.
Because of road construction, our trip back to the hospital took more than 40 minutes. With every bump and turn, I was screaming in pain. At one point, I started mentally making a game plan of how we could safely deliver our daughter on the side of the road. I had visions flashing in my head of being on the 9 p.m. local news: This just breaking! Woman gives birth on I-96!
We arrived at the hospital at 6:50 p.m., and I was scared to get out of the van. Ricky threw our keys to the person at the door and they quickly found a wheelchair. I was one of those pregnant ladies they always portray in movies: screaming through the hallways, yelling at people to get out of my way.
At this point, I knew I was crowning. Sitting down was impossible. By the time they got me into a delivery room, they didn't even have enough time to check me in. Thankfully, I had my hospital bracelet on from earlier that day.
My baby, Gabriella, was born at 7:05 p.m., less than 15 minutes after arriving at the hospital. If we had had even one extra delay on the highway, she would have been delivered in the van. I've never experienced so many emotions at once: stress, fear, pain, and complete joy.
After she was born, we called home to tell my parents that I had given birth to another girl. They were just expecting a call to tell them we'd arrived safely; they were completely shocked. We didn't even have a name for our baby until my parents arrived with the twins to see their sister!
We always joke that Gabby entered the world on her time, just like her personality. She's bold and always keeps us guessing. As for me, when Gabby came along, I discovered I'm much stronger than I ever knew. I also discovered that natural birth is the most painful thing I've ever experienced!
Looking back, I wish I had stood up for myself earlier that day. Knowing what I do now, I would have never left the hospital. I would have demanded to speak with another doctor.
In hindsight, I feel fortunate that everything turned out as well as it did. And I know my story could have been much different.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.