I remember my first labor was so long that it ran into days. I remember rushing into the hospital soon after the first set of contractions hit me only for the doctor to inform me that I was only 0.5cm dilated. So I was sent back ‘home’ which happened to be along the same street as the hospital.

The next day I was back, ready to take up my bed space at the hospital. But again, I was sent back after having to digest the difficult news that I was still only 0.5cm dilated.

Why you shouldn't ignore that headache if you're pregnant

Hours later, I was back again and this time around I was up to 1cm. What?! Even after doing all that ‘walking’ I was still only 1cm!!! ‘So not fair’, I thought to myself. 

Disappointed I returned back home, promising myself that I would not return until the signs of active labor became too glaring to be missed. I stayed true to my word and maybe took it too far because by the time I was returning back, my contractions were so closely spaced that walking was no longer an option for me. I had to be wheeled into the labor ward.

Now fast forward to a few years later…After the long 37 weeks of pregnancy, baby number 2 was knocking on the door but I wasn’t taking her very seriously. I was so certain that since her brother made me wait for days, she was probably going to do the same thing too. Or maybe being a girl, she was going to do even worse by playing dress up on my time. 

Well, I definitely wasn’t going to let that happen. This time around I was way too wise to let any baby push me around before the ‘hour’ had come. So, I was determined to attend to an earlier booked business and hair appointment before reporting to the hospital. I would only just call in to inform my doctor that I was in the early stage of labor and would be coming in later on in the day.

But when I called him, after questioning me, he was insistent that I come in immediately with my hospital bag. Unhappy that my morning plans were being disturbed, I made the trip to the hospital confident that after an examination, I will be sent back home like the first time. But boy, was I wrong! In less than 4 hours, I went from being a mother of one to a mother of two.

Second labors are usually faster than the first. For first-time-moms, active stage usually runs somewhere between 8 – 18 hours while the pushing usually takes about 3 hours. On the other hand, for the experienced moms, the active labor and pushing stages are unlikely to go beyond 12 and 2 hours respectively. In medical terms this is so because the pelvic floor muscles and elastic walls of the vagina have already been stretched before making it likely for contractions to get stronger quicker, the cervix to open up faster and the head of the baby to pass through the birth canal with more ease.

So if you’re going into the labor ward a second time or maybe a third or a fourth, don’t take things for granted when those contractions begin. This is especially so if you live in a place like Lagos which is constantly clogged with unpredictable traffic. You definitely don’t want your baby popping out in the car, as has happened to some moms out there. Trust me, some of those stories you hear about women birthing their babies in the toilets, bedrooms, cars or streets are true. Just earlier this year…, one minute I was talking to a close friend, the next minute, her contractions began and before we knew it her baby was out. She barely made it in time to the hospital for the birth. Yes, her second labor was that short!
Also note that this time around your baby’s head may not even get engaged until you go into labor. So again, don’t use that as a determinant as to whether or not your baby is on his/her way out. Just play it safe when those contractions begin. It’s better to arrive at the hospital too early, rather than too late.

*There will always be exceptions to every rule. But again, better safe than sorry. Be prepared!!!

What was your own experience like the second time? Or is this going to be your first time in the labor room? What are your expectations and fears? Do share with us in the comment section below…

Image courtesy: www.fitpregnancy.com, www.allaboutvision.com, www.sheknows.com