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It’s been almost 3 months now since Emma made her grand entrance and stole our hearts. And because it’s pretty much the biggest accomplishment of my life, I thought I’d document it forever on this great expanse, called the internet. These details aren’t going to remember themselves, so it’s time to put pen to paper (figuratively speaking, of course).
So here it goes. The story of our daughter’s birth.
This is Emma’s story.
I knew right away. I woke up expecting my period to have started, and it didn’t. In this house, Mother Nature worked like clockwork. I knew exactly what day to expect her to come for a visit, and when she would leave again. So when she didn’t show, I knew. No point in waiting days to see if she’d make her appearance. I waited just until the afternoon. Still nothing. So I knew it was time to take a pregnancy test (or three). I waited until Hubby went to the gym and did the deed.
We’re going to have a baby!!
I’m cautious by nature. I wanted to be certain. So I called the doctor’s office and made an appointment for the next day. No point in telling him until I was sure.
Next morning came, and so did the doctor’s appointment. Then it was real. Hubby was on shift (Firefighter. Man in uniform. Lucky me!) and wouldn’t be home until the next morning. I didn’t want to tell him over the phone, so my news would have to wait. I’d already planned how I would tell him when it happened. I had it all worked out. So when he came home the next morning this is what he saw:
He didn’t get it at first. He actually looked at me and asked, “Are we getting another dog?” Ummm . . . NO!!
Did I mention that this was the day before my birthday? Happy Birthday to Me!! :o)
You know how people say that pregnant women glow? Yeah. No. There was no glowing happening here. My hair wasn’t shiny and lustrous. Instead, it started falling out. My skin wasn’t smooth and radiant. My ongoing problem with acne intensified ten-fold. Pregnancy did NOT agree with me.
At about 6 weeks the morning sickness started. With a vengeance! I actually had a co-worker (who’d already had 2 kids herself) tell me that if she was as sick as I was, she’d just be dragging a trash can around behind her all day. I was running to the bathroom about every 45 minutes or so. For the first FIVE months! And after that my worship of the porcelain god didn’t stop. It just decreased in frequency. At the end, I could go a whole week and a half without a visit to the altar. Don’t they say morning sickness is supposed to stop after the first trimester??
And the exhaustion!! I literally have no comprehension how I managed to survive those first few months, let alone actually get up and go to work every day. I’d come home and take a “nap” for 3 or 4 hours. Then I’d just lay on the sofa, completely immobile, for a few hours, until it was time to go to bed again. The sleep deprivation of having a newborn is cake compared to how I was feeling!
Then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Because I wasn’t miserable enough! Now I had to do twice-a-week Non-Stress Tests, followed by once-a-week ultrasounds. Couple that with more and more frequent OB/GYN appointments as I got farther along, and by the end, I was just as happy to be done with the doctor’s visits as I was to have the baby out of me!
It wasn’t all bad though. The thing I loved the most? The bump. The bump, I thought was cute. And I wore it as a badge of honor! :o)
But as cute as it was, it was hella uncomfortable at the end. Squishing all your organs and stuff. I was done. I was ready to have this baby out!
My due date was May 1st. I was sure that I’d go early. Everyone was always commenting on how low the bump had gotten. But she didn’t come, and she didn’t come. The Monday before my due date I had an NST/Ultrasound appointment in the morning and an OB/GYN appointment in the afternoon. My next NST appointment was for the following Thursday, which was my due date. I remember telling the nurse at my NST that if I had to come in for my appointment on Thursday, I would cry. I was done being pregnant. She needed to come out now. At my OB appointment that afternoon, the doctor checked my cervix. She said I was measuring at a 2, but she still didn’t think I would be having the baby that day. She said that anything could happen, but she was pretty sure she’d see me the next week. Boy, was she wrong!
Hubby and I had a class at the hospital that evening. It was a Newborn Care class. I knew I was cutting it close signing up for a class 3 days before I was due, but the previous class had filled up before I could sign up, and I knew that if I didn’t sign up for this one, and didn’t deliver until after, that I would have been really upset with myself for not going. After all, I knew nothing about how to care for a newborn. I had questions!
The class was at 6 p.m., so Hubby and I decided to leave the house a little early and go get something to eat. As we were leaving the restaurant, I felt something. I felt a little . . . wet. It was just a little, so I wasn’t sure if my water was leaking or if I’d accidentally peed myself (we’ve all heard those horror stories). So right before he put the car into reverse I announced that I needed to use the bathroom . . . NOW! I ran back into the restaurant to check things out. I was pretty sure I hadn’t peed myself, but I still wasn’t positive. After all, in the movies when a woman’s water breaks there’s a huge gush. That wasn’t what had happened. And it seemed to have stopped.
Still. Better to be safe than sorry.
So I asked Hubby if we could go back home and grab “the hospital stuff”. Originally he thought I meant that I’d forgotten paperwork or something that we needed for the class. It wasn’t until I added, “And change my bottoms” that he understood.
“Did your water break??”
“Maybe. I don’t know. It’s just a little and I’m pretty sure I didn’t pee myself, but I’m not sure.”
So we ran back home, I changed my shorts, threw on a pad, packed up all the hospital bags, and headed to class. We were only 10 minutes late.
Five minutes later the contractions started.
They weren’t very strong. Not really painful. I silently started timing them while the instructor talked. 8 minutes apart.
“Are you having contractions?”
“Yes. But they’re only 8 minutes apart. And not that bad.”
“Are we going to go home after class or stay here?”
“I don’t know. I’m trying to decide.”
While I definitely wanted an epidural, other than that, I wanted as little medical intervention as possible. So, he knew that part of my birth plan was to labor at home for as long as possible before checking in. Ha! God laughs in the face of your plans!
I had started leaking again. By now I was pretty sure that it was my water. But just because my water had broken, didn’t mean that the baby was coming anytime soon. Surely, I could at least make it through this class.
Halfway through class, my pad had filled up. I needed a fresh one. So I told my hubby I was going to the bathroom. I stood up, took 2 steps, and WHOOSH! Instantly my shorts were soaked and I was sprinting to the bathroom. OK, maybe I can’t make it through class. I tossed on a fresh pad and speed-walked back to class. Of course, since we’d been late, we were sitting in the middle of the front row.
“We gotta go.”
“We gotta go!”
At this point the instructor hears what’s happening.
“You have to leave?”
“Yes. My water broke.”
“Were you sitting here having contractions??”
“Um . . . yeah.”
We gathered our stuff as fast as possible and made our way out of the room with the rest of the class cheering and wishing us luck.
Luckily for us, we were already at the hospital, so we didn’t have to go far. Just down the hall to the admitting desk. Then we were ushered into triage where they verified that Yup! My water had definitely broken!
(Fun Fact: Only 25% of women have their water break before labor starts. In most cases a woman is in labor for a while before the water breaks . . . if it even breaks on it’s own at all!)
Another part of my birth plan was to not get the epidural until I was at least 6 cm dilated. I had watched a documentary that said that getting an epidural too soon can actually slow down labor and then result in a C-Section. NOT what I wanted! But that was just another thing that didn’t go as planned. I was still only 2 cm dilated, but they needed a urine sample. Unfortunately, because my water had broken, I couldn’t just pee in a cup. The amniotic fluid would contaminate the sample. They’d need to put in a catheter.
So the triage nurse said they’d wait on the sample until they got me a delivery room. Then they’d give me and epidural and put in the catheter. As much as I had wanted to wait on an epidural, there was no way I was letting them put in a catheter while I could still feel it. So medicated, I was! They also said my blood pressure was a little high so I had a blood pressure cuff on my arm all night. I kept telling them I was fine I was just frazzled because everything was happening so fast! This wasn’t what I’d had in mind when I envisioned how my labor would go!
At this point it’s about 9:30 p.m. and I’m now at a 3. It didn’t look like Emma would be making her appearance any time soon, so we settled in for the night. Not that I got any sleep. Between what sounded like water pipes making noise off and on all night, the blood pressure cuff squeezing my arm every 30 minutes or so, and the pressure of the contractions there was no hope of me getting any sleep. And there was lots of pressure. Not painful per se . . . but very uncomfortable. It felt like someone was pushing on the insides, which of course, there was.
After a long night, I was dilated to a 9, but the contractions had started to lessen in intensity. It was also shift change, which meant a new nurse. Or should I say nurses.
It appeared that there was a group of student nurses visiting that day. One of the labor nurses asked if I would be OK with having student nurses accompanying the regular nurses during my labor, which I said was fine. So in walks 3 women. My assigned nurse, her student, and another nurse who had just been hired and was having her orientation done. They were fabulous every step of the way!
About an hour later, while I had a brief reprieve from the constant pressure, I sent my mom and the hubby to go get breakfast. And of course right after they left the room my nurses came in and started talking about getting ready to start pushing. So as soon as my mom and husband came back (which they did fairly quickly), the nurse instructed each one to grab a leg and told me to start pushing. During (and even before) the pregnancy, I’d always said that I wanted Hubby up by my head the whole time. I didn’t want him to see all the gross stuff that was happening (Poop, anyone?? It happens to everyone), but when it came time and the nurses told him to hold my leg, I didn’t care anymore. All I cared about what pushing out my baby, so I pushed.
I pushed with every ounce of strength I had for an hour and a half. And with a POP and an audible sigh of relief from me, she was here!
After 40 long weeks, a sleepless night of labor, and what felt like an eternity of pushing, we went from a couple to a family.
I cried like a baby. So did my hubby. So did my mom. She was perfect. 10 little fingers and 10 little toes and I loved her so much I thought my heart would burst.
She was born April 29th at 10:05 a.m. weighing 7 pounds and 7 ounces. 19 3/4 inches long. And so calm and alert! After her first couple cries, she went quiet and just seemed to watch everyone for the next couple hours. Such a good baby!
Now this is where my “Yes” to the student nurses came in to bite me in the butt. Every. Single. Nurse. that came in afterward had at least one student nurse with her. So with my mom, my husband, the doctor, the pediatrician, and all the nurses there were like 12 people in my room! And they were all trying to talk to me and ask questions all at the same time!
Then I noticed that the doctor had a needle and thread in her hand. I remember thinking, Oh. I must have torn. Then I look up and standing a little ways behind her was my student nurse . . . with a horrified look on her face. Yikes! It must be bad! At which point the doctor starts to talk to me in that slow, calm voice they use when they don’t want you to freak out, and tells me that I’ve torn to a 3 (which isn’t the worst, but still pretty bad). Hubby told me later that it did not look like a vagina when I was done (TMI? Sorry!). I didn’t care though. What’s done was done and I had my baby. That was all that mattered.
Then, of course, because I was already frazzled at how fast everything seemed to happen, excited about the baby, and overwhelmed with all the people, my blood pressure monitor started going off again. Thankfully, my blood pressure returned to normal when I was moved to a recovery room and had a chance to breath!
It was the best day of my life! And the most exhausting! I finally got to meet the little person who’d been making me miserable and beating me up from the inside for months!
So there it is. The story of how my little girl came to be. It’s been 11 weeks, but it feels like just yesterday I was still hugely pregnant and ready for her to come out. And yet, it seems like she’s been a part of the family forever.
I love you so much, baby girl. I loved you even before I held you in my arms. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. And even though I cannot possibly imagine what I ever could have done to deserve you, my angel, I promise to spend the rest of my life trying to be the mother you deserve. You are my world.