Castor oil is your friend! Sometimes.
For anyone who might be interested, what follows is the birth story of my second (and hopefully, last) child. It's not the roller coaster tour-de-force of the first birth story, but it may bring hope to anyone who worries that her second labor experience will be longer, more raw and more painful than her first.
I was due on April 25th, but there was an expectation that the date of actual delivery would be quite fluid, given that I'd had no idea I was preggo, and couldn't provide anyone with anything but the vaguest idea of when my last (first!) period had been. Sigh. I used to be organized, once. Anyway, I'd thought I'd go early, but instead I was late. After 3 days, I called my wonderful midwife and made an appointment.
"We'll make arrangements for postdate testing," she said, referring to the fun of sitting still in a reclining seat while the baby's movements are charted and amniotic fluid levels checked. The idea of doing this while wrangling a 2-year old was not attractive.
"Or," she said musingly, "you could spur labor on by taking a dose of castor oil. That's what I did with my second kid. Just take it on an empty stomach and you won't spend the whole day pooping. Oh, and feel free to go into labor in the meantime."
Normally, I'm all for things running their natural course, but I felt huge. I had gained 40 lbs. and we had just moved into a new fixer-upper house 3 weeks prior. Before that, we'd spent 3 months living with my parents in their townhouse. My big kid, now 2, had transitioned into a big boy bed, was talking a mile a minute and had begun potty training during that time. I can honestly say that 2 days in the hospital seemed like a pretty sweet vacation. Sad, huh?
The following day, down to the CVS I went with my empty stomach, after packing Woogie off to my SIL (a wondrous saint of a woman who has babysat him on the regular since we moved, allowing me to do things like, say, sleep). Then I drove to Wendy's to procure myself a Frosty, on the advice of Booby's coworker, whose wife mixed her castor oil into one prior to ingestion (the stuff is naaaasty). In my haste/Frosty lust, I drove too close to the drive-thru window and snapped the rearview mirror clean off the car. But it was totally worth it. I had a major Frosty addiction this pregnancy, and let me tell you, I indulged.
After a couple of hours and no fireworks, I figured nothing was going to happen, so I ate a late lunch. One hour later, well, let's just say the fireworks began. The whole idea behind taking castor oil is that you'll get a raging case of the trots, and the contractions of your bowel will instigate contractions of your uterus, and labor will begin. Most of what I read online said it's a bum steer, but people, I am here to tell you it is not.
At 4:30 p.m., I called Booby to tell him to come home - just in case, and anyway I was stuck to the toilet so he needed to come parent our toddler. At 6:30 p.m., I was having regular, but not too painful contractions. At 8:30, they started to intensify a little, and I was glad that Booby had forced me to call my folks so they'd come get Woogie and spare him the sight of his mommy in active labor. By 9, my water had broken (me: "My water just broke!" Booby: "No it didn't!" Apparently, he expected a tsunami) and we were en route to the hospital. VERY INTENSE. Very fast. Still, I was fastidious enough to have changed underwear (a pointless endeavor, and difficult to manage while contracting) and be sitting on a towel (far less pointless).
Part II coming when I have a little more "me time." God willing.