She’s here! Part 2 of Emerson’s birth story.

Birth stories are so personal and intimate; I thought maybe I shouldn’t share about the day Emerson arrived. But, I also know both the benefit of writing my thoughts as well as having them documented somewhere. I’d like to say I think our daughter might want to read about the day she came into the world when she’s older. Maybe not?

  
 If you didn’t catch part 1, the basic gist is I planned and hoped for a natural birth, and well, it didn’t happen. And long story short, I am totally okay with that. Like I said in the first post, I have a beautiful baby girl, and like everyone promised me when I was making my birth plan before she arrived, in the end, that’s all you truly care about. The plan can fall by the waist side as long as she’s healthy and happy. And, it’s so true 🙂

So, let’s get back to the story. If you remember, I was given Cytotec, which is a drug used to induce labor. It’s a tiny pill they insert into your cervix. It doesn’t work for all women, but for some, it can put you into full blown labor, and FAST. The midwife warned me I may go from 0 to 100 within a few minutes. I didn’t know what that meant, but I quickly found out.

No joke, within 5 minutes of my water breaking at 10pm, I was having strong contractions just 1 minute a part from each other. I remember one second I was joking around with Beth (my best friend) and Jon (my husband), and then the next, they were still talking and I was doubled over in the bathroom, unable to talk or really do anything. “Ohhhh, so THIS is labor.” Wow. There was no warm up period at all.

 I moved from the bathroom back to the room, and I put my headphones in while I got on my knees and hovered over an exercise ball. I couldn’t handle hearing outside conversations happening, so I turned up my music super loud so I didn’t have to listen to them talk ha. What was the music of choice? Pandora 90’s hits. Ironically I made this station just a few days before we went into the hospital. Jon and I were driving and we all of a sudden had the urge to listen to some good 90’s music. So, as things were getting more and more intense, Christina Aguilera was telling me she was a genie in a bottle. Or something like that.

 The contractions continued, and I began to feel out of control. I knew induction drugs could do this, and I didn’t have any prior labor to compare it to, but I felt like I was just hanging on, almost like I was being thrown against a wall by a huge wave. There was no sense of time, but as soon as I’d be trashed from one contraction, another one would come within just a few seconds. The nurse came in at one point and told me the fetal monitors weren’t picking up the baby’s heartbeat because I was leaning over the ball and they kept falling down. We tried to get them to stay on (they are strapped to your belly with velcro) by holding them with my hand, but it still wasn’t picking anything up, and this made the nurse concerned. It made me pissed, because it meant I had to change positions, and I didn’t feel like I could stand up. All I wanted to do was lay on top of the exercise ball.

 I eventually stood up, because the nurse said I’d have to get into the hospital bed if the monitors kept falling off, so I just basically leaned on Jon and Beth (read: collapsed on them as I tried to stand, still reeling from the pain which was getting even more intense). I tried to remember all the techniques we talked about in Lamaze class like relaxing, breathing, and having someone press on my back, but honestly, in that moment, I was approaching it like I do in a race; I tensed up and just pressed on. I didn’t breathe into it. My shoulders were tense, my legs were tense, I couldn’t relax. I should probably work on that for running, because that really can’t be good.

The damn monitors kept falling off. WHY WON’T THESE THINGS STAY ON.

The nurse came back in and told me I had to get in the bed so the monitors could pick up the baby. I don’t know why this upset me so much. I knew the baby was fine. I also knew trying to labor while lying on my back in the bed would be so painful. I didn’t want to lay down. But I had no choice. Once in the bed, I started having back labor. Oh dear Lord.

I got back on my hands and knees while in the bed. I started crying, leaning over Jon and remember saying softly to him, “I think I’m almost done. I’m trying so hard, but I don’t think I can go much longer. I know we talked about this, and you’re supposed to say to me that I can do it, but I’m telling you I can’t. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with getting pain medicine.” I believe it had been 5 hours since my water broke.

The nurse came back in, the fetal monitors were picking up the baby a little better (still not great because I was still moving around quite a bit while in the bed), but I told her I’d like to get some stadol, a pain med that is essentially a drug that makes you sleepy and “takes the edge off” is what I had read on a few blogs. HA! Yea, it may have been 3 am, but I did not get sleepy, nor did it take the edge off.

About an hour later (I think . . .again, no sense of time during all of this. Just pain.), I said we needed to bring out the big guns. Let’s go for the epi. “I’m okay with doing it.” I said to my husband again. He told me he was proud of me, and that it would all be okay. Because I wasn’t hooked up to an IV (I just had a hep-lock), I had to get some fluids in me before they’d give me the epidural. The fluid bag needed to be empty, which takes about 30 minutes. At that point, even though I could see the light because the epidural was coming soon, I was still in so much pain. Trying to breathe, but watching the fluid bag get less and less was like watching the minute hand on a clock. Brutal. Time was moving so slowly.

The epidural finally came, and I told the nurse anesthetist that I loved him, and it must be fun having a job where you get to make people in pain happy again. He was weirded out, but I didn’t mind. He also told me during one of the contractions (because they were still going, and I was still being thrashed about), that I “need to cut that out. There will be no moaning or groaning.” At that point my love for him turned to anger. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BABY? YEA, JUST STOP TALKING AND STICK THAT NEEDLE IN MY BACK. ha, I didn’t say that, but seriously, who has the nerve to tell someone experiencing the pain of child birth that they need to hush? SMH, MEN.

after the epidural. man i feel good.

Pretty much as soon as the epidural was given, I felt some relief. It was amazing that with each contraction, the pain became less and less. Amazing. Truly amazing. Do I still want a natural child birth at some point in my life? If we have more kids, yes, I do. But, I’ve never been more thankful for modern medicine.

no pain…this is great!

The midwife came back in to check on me an hour after the epidural, and I had dilated to a 10! I couldn’t believe it. I guess that was all I needed. Just needed to relax, and the epidural provided that. I was immensely grateful.

Time to meet this baby! The midwife set the room up for the baby to arrive, and it was time to push. 30 minutes later, at 5:20 am, Emerson Ruth Taylor arrived. It truly was the greatest moment.

 

7 pounds, 4 ounces, 20 inches long. Tons of hair. We are still so overjoyed and can’t believe it. Welcome to the world, E!  

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Baby is here! Part 1 of Emerson’s birth story.

I’m breaking up the birth story into two parts rather than trying to cram it all into one. This is part 1, where I tell the details of my birth goals, and what actually happened leading up to it.

From the moment we found out we were pregnant, I decided I would do everything in my power to have a natural birth. “Natural Birth” means different things to different people. For me, the phrase embodies going into labor on my own, laboring for a while at home, heading to the hospital when things start getting intense, and pushing a baby out without medical interventions like pain medicine or induction drugs. That was my plan. I read the books, Jon and I went to 6 weeks of Lamaze classes, I tried to stay as healthy as possible throughout my pregnancy, etc. Basically, I set myself up for success, or tried to anyway. 
 
 As my due date inched closer, I became extremely antsy. WHY ISN’T BABY HERE YET?! Like the majority of first-time moms, my due date came and went with zero signs of an impending labor. Honestly, I am sure my anxiety and impatience had something to do with the baby not descending. I just couldn’t relax! There was no dilation of my cervix, and pretty much no effacement when I went to my appointment at 40 weeks. I started to become anxious about knowing when baby would arrive. I remember saying, “If someone could just tell me how many more days it’s going to be, then I’ll be fine! It’s the unknown that is driving me insane.”

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Laser Tag at 41 weeks. HA! Doing everything to keep my mind off going into labor . . .

As part of the “natural birth” plan, we worked with a midwife throughout my pregnancy, which means you can imagine my shock when she said she really didn’t want me going past 41 weeks if I don’t go into labor on my own. (Normally midwives are much more lenient with waiting on babies to come on their own) “Wait, how will I have a natural birth, then?” became my thought process. I know that sounds selfish, but I truly had been envisioning this process for 9 months, so there was a little disappointment. I knew if I had to be induced, the dream of bringing a baby into the world without drugs would be nearly impossible. Most people I had talked to said laboring while on Pitocin or Cytotec (two drugs used to induce labor), is pure hell. So, as I inched closer to 41 weeks, I had to begin thinking about what an induction would mean, and whether my goals of a natural birth needed to change a bit. I was surprisingly okay with changing my plan. Besides, isn’t that what you hear all the time? Have a birth plan, but be flexible. The time had come for flexibility, and perhaps I was just so ready to get the baby out of me, that the drugs and possibility of needing an epidural really didn’t sound all that bad.

come on baby. pleasseee come out

It was a Sunday, and I was 41 weeks pregnant. To be frank, I was not in a good mental state. Just sooo ready to not be pregnant and to meet this baby. I’ve never felt so impatient in my life. My husband and I were on a long walk to a local coffee shop when we had a conversation about inducing the following day. We both decided in the end, it would be best, and we would trust the midwife’s discretion on getting the baby out soon for both his/her health and mine, which would mean possibly foregoing my plan of a natural birth. I was really at peace about it. I had accepted that our plans don’t always go the way we want them to, and that is OKAY. The health of the baby is the most important thing. We would go to our prenatal appt the next day, and if there was availability at the hospital, we’d induce that day.

The plan to induce the following day came to fruition, and we headed to the hospital around 11 am Monday morning. I had heard horror stories about hospitals not letting you eat once you’re in the labor and delivery room, so we made sure to get some high-quality food in my system while driving downtown ha 😀

 By the time I was checked in and all the paperwork was complete, it was 2pm on Monday. I met with the midwife, who suggested I try a manual dilation before we jump to using Cytotec. The less synthetic drug intervention the better. So we opted for a dilation technique called Laminaria, which actually consists of using sticks of seaweed that expand inside your cervix to dilate it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Yes, I was a little weirded out. So we tried the seaweed, with no guarantee it would work. And it didn’t. I was still just 1 cm after they took them out 6 hours later at 8pm. I honestly wasn’t disappointed. I had decided today was all about going with the flow, and I knew it was going to be a long labor, so I just relaxed and trusted the midwife. I was finally on the way to meeting this baby!

the eternal waiting game

The next step? Cytotec. If you’ve never heard of it, google it. It’s a beast of a drug. It’s a tiny pill they insert into your cervix, and once it dissolves, there’s no turning back. Woof. It can make labor contractions down right brutal for some, and for others, like the Laminaria, it may not even work. 2 hours after taking the Cytotec, at 10pm, my water broke, and no more than 5 minutes after that, contractions came on in full force.

IT’S LABOR TIME.

Part 2 will be the actual labor, how I managed it, and ultimately meeting my beautiful baby girl. Stay tuned!