Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Birth Story

Wanted to get this written before I forget any of it... sorry if I over shared some :)

We woke up and it was a typical Sunday. Well, almost typical. Michael was off from leading worship at church (which is very, very rare - but we knew baby would be coming soon so they gave him the Sunday before and the Sunday after our due date off). Anyway, so we woke up and made biscuits, sausage and gravy - my absolute favorite breakfast. We had bought some sausage at the farmer's market on Sunday and I was so excited to make this :) I'm pretty good at making gravy :)

So then we ate breakfast and got ready for church. All of us together! Michael usually leaves the house at 7, but this week he got to come with us and it was just so nice getting to do church as a family. Dropping C off together and then sitting together for the ENTIRE service. Didn't realize quite how much I missed that!

The after church we headed up to Michael's hometown to go to his aunt's wedding. We weren't sure if we would be able to make it to her wedding depending upon baby's arrival - but I was still feeling mostly okay (later everyone told me I looked slightly miserable but we made the trip regardless). If anything we were hoping the fact that we were an hour from home would kick start labor :)

The wedding was fun but we left early because there wasn't air conditioning which I hadn't anticipated and was just very, very uncomfortable (probably why everyone later told me I really looked awful... sweet family we've got ;) ) When we got in the car we were all kind of cranky. Caedmon had missed his nap - so Michael basically wrangled him the entire ceremony... which is exhausting. And I was just HOT. But C quickly fell asleep once we were on our way and the air conditioning of our car did wonders for Michael and I. :) As soon as we walked in the door home my boys laid on the couch and turned the TV on and I went upstairs to lay down. Next thing I know Michael is waking me up asking me if I want to eat. So I head downstairs and eat.

About an hour later, around 7p, we were sitting on the couch and I felt a contraction. I told Michael I was pretty sure I had one and asked him what time it was - sure enough five minutes later I had another contraction and that continued for about an hour. They were 5 minutes apart lasting about a minute but they weren't too strong - I was able to talk through them fine. Then they started getting further apart and waning off so I just tried to get my mind off of it. We all went for a walk around the block and then when we got home Michael took C upstairs for bed and I rested on the couch - timing my irregular contractions.

We started a movie on Netflix and around 10 we decided we needed to try to get some sleep. I wasn't sure I would be able to fall asleep (contractions were about 4-6 minutes apart at this point, but still not very strong). But we went upstairs anyway. We talked and got ready for bed and then Michael went down to eat a bowl of cereal and when he came back up I was fast asleep. We called our friends that we had asked to be prepared to watch C for us and just let them know what was going on - that labor could pick up or not but we just wanted to have them on standby and to make sure they had their phones on :) We also called my midwife to just let her know we thought we'd be making a trip to the hospital that night.

I woke up at 2a with STRONG contractions. I went downstairs thinking I could work through some of them but they were coming about 3 minutes apart, lasting one minute. Then they were just right on top of each other - I'd have three right in a row and then a minute of two of rest. I woke Michael up and told him to call Mark and Maria and get our bag together for the hospital. It was mostly ready but we needed to throw in cameras and toiletry things. I got in the shower to try to help get my mind off of contractions somewhat but they were very, very strong.

Michael called Mark and Maria and told them we may have to meet them at the hospital (he may have been super nervous at this point). And Maria said Mark started driving 100 mph to get to our house (he's a paramedic so he also would have been able to birth the baby and he even said he was mentally prepping for that possibility when he got to the house and saw me having a contraction). They made it to our house, we never had to wake Caedmon up and we left for the hospital a bit before 3. 

We got to the hospital (just 2 miles from our house) and headed upstairs. Unfortunately my pre-registration hadn't gone through so we had to fill out some paperwork. Hard to do when you have about a minute of rest with a minute of contractions. But together we got it done and I was taken back to the room to get checked to see if they'd admit me. They checked the baby's heart rate and she was doing great then they checked other things and I felt like they were taking just a long time to check my cervix - I was seriously reconsidering my decision for a natural birth. Finally she checked me (to see if I was actually going to be admitted, even though my contractions were obviously strong) and said "Wow, girl! You're an 8!" So they wheeled me back to a delivery room (the natural delivery room with the tub). and I climbed in to the bed while they checked other things. My blood pressure, took blood samples and I can't remember what else all while I was having horrible contractions. There was one nurse who kept saying "Concentrate. Work through it, focus... don't let negative thoughts of 'I can't do this' get in there." And that was just really big for me. So every contraction I repeatedly had the thought "I am a boat." - I blame my friend Faith for this :) She recently posted this quote:

""If a man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him." Seneca
It's surprising how easy it can be to just let our life send us careening this way and that, as if our boat has lost its rudder. We complain every step of the way, of course, about how bad our luck is, how nothing is turning out the way we want. 
How can we be disappointed about where we land when we didn't know where we were going in the first place?
If I want my life to make sense, I need to start with a mental map of what direction I want to go. "

So I started thinking "I am a boat and I am guiding this baby out - focusing not on the pain but on my strength (okay GOD'S strength... I literally had zero strength of my own). But I didn't want to get caught up in 'winds' of thoughts that it was too hard or I just couldn't do it. So, hence the thought "I am a boat." For whatever reason - it was very effective for me! Piece of advice when going through labor... have something like this to focus on. I had a similar focusing point when laboring with Caedmon and it is just very, very helpful to have a go-to thought when laboring gets really tough.

Anyway, I had just made the comment, "I don't want to do this anymore..." Contractions were painful and I was just having a really tough time. The nurse checked me and said I wasn't quite there yet - but too far a long to walk, use the tub, or get any medicine without all of it going right to the baby. My midwife walked in less than a minute later and after talking to the nurse decided to just try to encourage me. I had rolled on my side at in between being checked and her arrival and my midwife told me to try bearing down during my next contraction. So I did and was elated when she said, "It's time to have a baby!" After just one more push, Emmaline was born. Just two pushes... less than 5 minutes. Disbelief doesn't seem to quite cover it.

It was an amazing experience. My last three contractions before pushing were extremely difficult, but I could literally feel her moving  down so I knew I was close - but the hardest thing about that moment is just not knowing how close you are or when exactly it's going to end.

So my midwife walked in the door and it was time to push and then our daughter was here. I couldn't believe it. I said to Michael over and over "I did it." Even hours later I just couldn't believe I had done it! Really, really awesome experience. She was born after we had been in the hospital for just an hour - all of the nurses kept saying "that's the way to do it!" 

And now we're still in the hospital. I didn't have any tearing or any other issues so my recovering is going really well - still have some struggles, of course, but thankful for where I am. And Emmaline? She's awesome. She's got a ton of dark hair and the prettiest blue eyes - just like her daddy. I think Caedmon looks like daddy - but with my eye/hair color... I'm hoping Emmaline looks like me but with Michael's eye/hair color. :) She's eating every 2.5 - 3 hours, nursing and latching great, passed all of her tests and the pediatrician said all around she's very healthy. We're so thankful! Caedmon is pretty excited to be a big brother and gets excited every time he's seen the baby so far - although I'm not sure what his opinion will be when she's coming home with us :) He's been thrown off a bit that mommy and daddy aren't home with him in the mornings, but I think he's old enough to go with the flow. He's loving being spoiled by nonna and pop pop. Internet at the hospital isn't the greatest - so photos to come soon! :)


  1. God sure was with you! You have been unbelievably blessed! I'm so proud of you and you are an awesome encouragement to many! She is perfect, and I'm so happy for you!!

  2. Love it! I'm so proud of you. I know how awful that is (that sounds basically like my labor.... awful, pretty much constant contractions) and you did it beautifully, completely natural just like you wanted to! I have the most beautiful and strong best friend for sure.

  3. So happy and excited for you all! Congrats! Hope we get to meet her before too long! :)

  4. Encouraging for sure! So excited for you.