Emerson Lily welcomed the world on April 26th at 3:28pm. 7lbs 2oz and 19 inches long.
The moment months in the making finally arrived, filled with joy, tears, unparalleled happiness. After a physically draining pregnancy and a labor that almost made a turn down a path I didn't want to take, I wanted nothing more than to embrace our sweet little girl.
Multiple timeable contractions were nothing out of the ordinary this pregnancy. Am I in labor? Is this the real thing? Questions I asked myself often, even more so as my May 1st due date approached. I was ready but my little lady was in charge so I sat back and waited for a clear signal.
That signal came on Saturday, April 25th. Around 4pm my contractions really picked up and the pattern was pretty consistent. One minute long contractions around four minutes apart. After my crazy fast delivery with Teagan, my midwives constantly reminding me to get to the hospital ASAP, and my fear of missing out on getting an epidural, I was on edge. Cannot deliver baby in car. Cannot wait until the last minute. Cannot deliver drug free again.
Even with all these reasons to RUN to the hospital, I knew it wasn't time just yet. Maybe gearing up for the real thing but there was time. So I took a relaxing bath and laid down for the night. By around 2pm I was feeling semi uncomfortable so I retreated downstairs to our comfy leather recliner. I drifted in and out of sleep until about 5am. The contractions were picking up a bit and while still completely manageable I made the call to head to hospital just in case. I called the midwife to let her know and 20 minutes later I was in triage.
At my last midwife appointment five days earlier I was 1cm dilated. In triage I was 3cm. Progress was good but my contractions had slowed way down. After I explained my need to get the epidural along with my body going from 0 to 60 in no time (zero being feeling fine and 60 being baby in my arms), I was admitted. Admitted with rules though. No eating solid food and I had to walk the hospital to get labor going again. Done!
So Kris and I walked. For hours. Up and down the halls, over and over again. And while I had contractions they weren't progressing like they should, especially seeing how I had been in early labor 17 hours. Disgruntled. we headed back up to L&D to get a game plan going. My midwife was sure I was in actual labor and that things were just progressing slowly so we agreed on Pitocin to start the contractions back up.
While I had already decided for sure on an epidural, I wasn't planning on augmenting labor. I've always been of the mindset that baby will come when baby is ready and if there's no medical reason for an induction it should be avoided but at this point I just wanted to have a baby. So I was hooked up on a low dose of Pitocin and was moved to my L&D room.
During this whole process I met my L&D nurse, personally assigned to me by my L&D nurse neighbor (who is out on maternity leave). Knowing that I was in good hands was such a relief to me. I was relaxed and hung out in the hospital bed chatting with Kris and our nurse while romantic comedies played in the background on TBS. The contractions were still manageable, even on Pitocin, so when hours went by and I only dilated another 1/2 cm my Pitocin was slightly increased and I was sent on a mission to walk the halls again. Quite the task for a very pregnant, very tired, very hungry girl. But baby girl had to make her arrival so off we went.
That next dose was just what my body needed. After a few laps around the hall I could feel a significant change in the contractions. I had to stop and breathe and visualize pretty things (like being on a beach with the ocean waves in the background). The pain moved from my lower abdomen to my back. Brutal. After a handful of these excruciating contractions I waddled back to my room to get the epidural started.
But before I was blessed with sweet, sweet relief, I had to chat again with my midwife. My midwife practice has exploded since I started there five years ago. Only three midwives at the time, I very much enjoyed getting to know each one personally. Fast forward to now. The practice has grown to seven midwives, making it hard to connect with each one. While my fave midwife Louann was on call starting at 5pm, the one that delivered both girls (well, she missed Teagan's delivery!), the one that knows so much about me, the midwife on call at that moment was Mary. Super sweet but I had only met her once.
Mary's plan of attack was to break my water. Louann suggested that too at my last appointment in order to give me a more controlled birth so I was on board but I had a nagging feeling that I needed the epidural first. With both Parker and Teagan I delivered them mere minutes after my water broke and like I said, I was not birthing this baby without pain relief so I asked for the epi first.
The anesthesiologist was called and arrived mere minutes later. The procedure wasn't painful but it was definitely a weird experience. I could feel the pain relief traveling down my back, cool and tingly, but within minutes I started shaking uncontrollably. Apparently normal but bizarre at the same time. I thought that I would be dead weight from the waist down but I could still feel the pressure of the contractions. Not nearly as intense as without the epi but still noticeable.
Now the time had come to break my water. Seemingly harmless but seconds after my water broke Emerson's heart rate plummeted. When you see sheer fear in the eyes of the nurse and midwife that's never soothing. For the record I do not cope well in panic situations but for whatever reason I was calm in that moment. Even when hearing the deep concern in Kris' voice, even when Mary and the nurse paged the OB (read: getting ready for an emergency c-section), I felt an odd sense of peace. It must have been the exhaustion talking.
I was flipped over to my hands and knees and probably less than a minute later Emerson's heart rate began to rise and remained at a normal rate. Thank goodness. My biggest fear with a medical birth was it ending in a c-section. The mix of Pitocin, my water breaking, and natural contractions was too intense for my body.
After the drama my midwife told me to relax, enjoy the epi and try to sleep. She was going to step out to take a few notes and would be back in 20 minutes. That didn't happen though. I felt intense pressure before she made it to the door and sure enough, baby was ready to be born.
Everyone scrambled around and I was told it was time to push. One long push and again I saw the look of fear in Mary and the nurses eyes. Push as fast and as hard as you can I was instructed. The baby needs to come out now. So I did and two/three pushes later Emerson entered the world.
Perfect, healthy, with a head full of dark hair and the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. The cord played a role in her heart rate dropping as well as her needing to be birthed extremely fast to relieve the pressure on her neck.
Tears of joy and happiness and love. Finally being able to hold our precious girl. Take her all in, hold her on my chest, feel the sense of relief to know she was perfectly healthy. One of the best moments in my life.
We love you to the moon and back, Emerson Lily.