Saturday, August 4, 2012

Emma's Birth Story

Better late than never....

Emma Rose was born on June 22, 2012 at 9:04am, weighing 7lbs 1oz and 21" long.  She graciously arrived right on time, on her due date! :-)

I was scheduled to go in for an induction on Thursday night (June 21). All day I was having fairly consistent contractions (5-10 minutes apart), but they were never consistently spaced enough for me to think it was "time". By that night we were still waiting to hear from the hospital to let us know it was time to come in for the induction. We decided to get everything packed up and head out to dinner with Hannah and my parents (who had come into town the day before in preparation for the scheduled induction). 

We decided to eat at Chipotle and had a nice dinner while I continued to time contractions on my phone.  After dinner we still hadn't heard from the hospital but we didn't want to go home just to have to turn back around.  So we sent Hannah home with my parents (knowing it would be our last time seeing her as our only child) and decided to head to Target to do some browsing.

 While we walked around Target I started having some mildly painful contractions and even had to stop to breathe through them several times. I knew this was a good sign!  By 8pm we still hadn't heard from the hospital, so we called only to find out that they didn't have any beds available for inductions yet.  They said they would call us as soon as they did.  At that point, Brian's parents were almost to Atlanta (they were driving back for the induction as well) so we decided to meet up with them at Cheesecake Factory for dessert.  As we sat there I had several contractions (3-5 minutes apart) and they were increasing in pain.  When the waiter found out that I was in labor, he couldn't believe it.  It was so funny to see the look on his face.  I assured him that I had been through this before and I promised not to deliver the baby in the restaurant. :-)  By the time we finished up it was nearing 10pm and the hospital still had not called.  We called again and found out that they were not going to have any beds available until morning....not the news we wanted to hear.  We decided to head toward home and on the way I called my midwife.  After telling her about my consistent and mildly painful contractions she told us to head into the hospital.  So as soon as we pulled into the driveway, we turned back around and headed for the hospital. 

When we arrived at the hospital they were so packed that we had to wait a bit for them to find us a room.  When I was finally checked into my room, they checked my cervix and I was cervadil for me.  We decided to do some walking to help keep things moving along.  Contractions were definitely starting to pick up in intensity.  They checked me again at midnight and I was 4cm.  My midwife suggested that we try to get some rest so we laid down and attempted to sleep.  Yeah right!  I was a nervous wreck!  I knew the pain that was coming and I couldn't calm down.  I started having a mild panic attack and my contractions started spacing out, although they continued to be very painful.  Around 3am I ended up calling my parents to get their advice about what I should do - epidural or not.  Thankfully they were wide awake too! :-)  After much deliberation and prayer I decided it was time to get an epidural.  After my intense natural labor with Hannah, I just knew I couldn't do it again. 

The epidural was placed at 5am and I had the best nurse to talk me through it step by step, as I was definitely not excited about getting a needle shoved into my spine! It was so much easier than I expected...just a slight bee sting feeling and it was done. It took quite a while for the epidural to take full effect, but once it did it was wonderful. My back labor was gone and all I felt was pressure....A LOT of pressure! I also had the epidural shakes where my whole body was shaking uncontrollably...not painful, but strange and annoying. The pressure was so strong down there that they checked me several times to be sure I wasn't ready to push. By 6am I was already 6cm.  Because of the epidural, my body was finally able to relax enough for my labor to kick into gear and the rest of the labor was super fast.

They started setting up the delivery supplies by 7am, which I was convinced was wrong.  There was no way I would be pushing a baby out anytime soon, but I guess they knew better than I did because just two hours later Emma arrived!  At 8am I was 9cm and my midwife broke my water.  Unfortunately Emma had already had her first bowel movement while inside (meconium) so that meant that a NICU team would have to be present at her birth to assess her breathing. 
At 9am I started pushing and after just 4 minutes Emma was here.  I truly felt no pain and couldn't believe how much better this delivery was compared to my first!  I even had them bring over the mirror between contractions so I could see what was going on down there.  I NEVER thought I would want to see that, but I'm actually glad I did...pretty amazing!  I didn't even break a sweat during the delivery and told the midwife over and over just how amazed I was that I felt absolutely nothing!  So strange, but wonderful! 

Emma came out screaming at 9:04am and the NICU team immediately assessed her right there in the room.  While I was bummed that I couldn't hold her right away like I did with Hannah, I was glad that everything checked out fine and she never had to leave the room.  Her APGAR score at 1 minute was an 8 and at 5 minutes was a 9....just like her big sister!  After about 20 minutes I was able to hold her and nurse her for the first time.

Getting the epidural was THE BEST decision!  Not only was the labor so much more enjoyable (I was on my iPhone when I was 8-9cm dilated!) but it was nearly a necessity because of the trouble we had getting my placenta to detach.  While the NICU team was assessing Emma, I was delivering the placenta - yes, it is cruel that you have to deliver something else after you just pushed a 7lb baby out!  For some reason my placenta was being stubborn and my midwife had to literally reach her entire arm inside to scrape the placenta out!  INSANE!  If it weren't for the epidural I would have been DYING!  God knew that the placenta would be troublesome, so I truly believe it was His perfect plan for me to get the epidural.  Even my midwife kept saying how glad she was that I got the epidural.  Her words were, "We would not be friends right now if it weren't for that epidural" as she stuck her entire arm inside me.  YIKES!

Throughout my entire third trimester I was so worried about the labor, delivery and recovery.  I prayed that things would be completely different from my first.  So far things were going GREAT!  Labor and delivery were a piece of cake.  Next up, recovery.  My two biggest concerns were that I would be able to pee after delivery and not need a catheter (I had three after Hannah's birth) and that I wouldn't have huge blood clots again (the size of grapefruits after Hannah's birth!).  About an hour after Emma arrived, I tried to pee but couldn't.  So in went the first catheter.  Thankfully about an hour later I was able to go on my own and didn't requite anymore catheters!  YEAH!  As to my second concern, once again God answered all our prayers.  I never had a clot larger than a quarter and surprisingly my bleeding was very light overall.  By the second day in the hospital I was wearing my own underwear (goodbye hospital mesh panties) and no longer using the ice packs down there.  Things were so much better the second time around!

So, epidural or all natural?  EPIDURAL all the way!  Of course I realize that many people do not have such a good experience with an epidural and shockingly some people prefer an all natural delivery, saying it is less painful.  While I will never understand that, I do understand the desire to go all natural.  While my first labor and delivery and recovery were not at all what I had hoped for, I am ultimately glad I decided to go all natural because I can at least say I did it.  And for my second labor and delivery I am so glad I chose the epidural!  I got to experience both types of labor and I'm so happy I did. 

If it weren't for the horrendous pregnancy that I had (severe hyperemesis for the entire pregnancy) I may even consider doing it all again...that's how easy the birth was!  Such a blessing!

While we could not be more thankful for the labor, delivery and recovery that I had, our ultimate thankfulness is for the beautiful little baby that we now have in our family!  Emma Rose is the perfect addition to our family and we are so in love!

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