I know, it's been a very long time since I posted. The funny this is that I am on here every day, to check the blogs of my friends. :) But regular blogging isn't a super high priority these days, so I don't expect to be back here again soon. But recording Emma's birth is a high priority, so here we go.
Emma Elizabeth Davis was born June 7th at 12:40 pm. She is a little darling. Here is her story:
She was due June 8th. I was really hoping she would come on the 6th, since I was two days early with the last three babies, but no such luck. I had an appointment on the 6th, and they stripped my membranes, which must have gotten the ball rolling; contractions started that night.
I was also hoping that this delivery would be just like Jonny's. His was nice and easy (comparatively!) at just 6 hours long from water breaking to delivery with no medication and only a little while of pushing. But no such luck.
I had contractions start early in the morning, at about 1 or 2, and I got out of bed to time them since I knew I wasn't going to get any more sleep while they were happening. After a few hours contractions were about every five minutes lasting about a minute. Some were a lot shorter and some were a lot longer, but that was the average. We live an hour away from the hospital so I decided we would go ahead and go in since I knew the baby would be born that day and I didn't want to get there with too little time like had happened in the past. So we called the doctor office to let them know to tell the hospital. So we left.
Contractions weren't too bad to handle on the drive there. Each time one hit I just focused on relaxing and it was no big deal. Sometimes there would be seven minutes between contractions and a little part of me was afraid that they were going to send me home. I didn't know how far along I was (I had been at a 3 at my appointment that morning) but I knew that baby was going to come. I'd done this enough times.
So we got to the hospital and got checked in and into a triage room. I got checked and was still at a 3. I hate getting checked. Nothing as disappointing as going through some pretty good contractions and then finding out you're still at the very beginning. But this was a good 4 or 5 hours into real contractions and I knew that if they just let me alone, it could go pretty quickly and I did not want them to send me home.
So the nurse said they would let me stay for an hour and see if I had made enough progress to admit me. I had two different nurses working with me throughout this: Carol and Heather. Carol was ... not so great, and Heather ended up being my hero. Carol was the nurse who gave me an hour.
I was determined to be as relaxed as I could and let my body labor efficiently so we could stay and just have the darn baby! Heather came in and out and we chatted and once again, there were times where there were seven or so minutes in between contractions. After that hour was up, Heather checked me and said I was maybe a 4. I wasn't thrilled with the progress, but it was progress, so that was good. She said she would admit me and acted like she was doing me a big favor. I said a big thanks and we got moved to another room.
Yay, we were going to have a baby! So I labored on, thinking I was still at a 4. Come to find out a few hours later, that when Heather had checked me, I was actually at a 5/6. But she told me I was at a 4 because she had been around enough women who, when they find out they're kind of far along, decide it's time to freak out and get hysterical. So she told me I was at a 4 because she didn't want to deal with that, and wanted to test the waters a little bit and see if I was one of those hysterical laborers. I'm not. :) And she agreed with me. But we thought it was pretty funny (well, I thought it was a little mean too) that she totally lied to us. Ha ha.
By that time I was already at a 7/8, so I was progressing well enough. It was still longer than Jonny's birth had been, and I was ready to finish up. :) The doc said he could break my water if I wanted and he would bet that the baby would come very quickly after that. I liked that idea, so he went ahead and did that. And the contractions got hard after that. It's interesting how each labor and delivery are so different, and my techniques for managing the pain are different too. This time, at the beginning of transition, ice chips were my good friend. Every time a contraction hit, I would start munching on ice chips and kind of hum a tune in my head. Then as they got harder, I tried to do what I did last time-- lie completely still and breathe with the beats of my heart. But they were getting harder and harder, although they weren't quite as close as it seemed like they should have been for transition.
Then Carol came in to check me. This was about 12:00. I was still at an 8. I hadn't progressed in hours, which is unusual for a 5th, all-natural birth. She started saying maybe they should give me pitocin, maybe an epidural would relax me, blah, blah, blah. Basically she scared me. She made me think that labor wasn't working and I was going to need interventions. That is a really bad thing to say to a woman who is in the middle of transition and has been for hours. If you haven't had a baby, one of the accompanying emotions of transition is panic. It's just one of the things that will come. If I had known about that with my first, I might not have ended up with a c-section. Anyways, when a woman is trying to beat down the panic, and someone tells her that her labor isn't working, and she needs intervention, that woman is not going to be in a strong enough place to fight back. I started thinking maybe she was right, and I did need pitocin and and epidural, but I was terrified to think that that would probably lead to a c-section. But the rational part of my brain was turned off. I started to believe that I couldn't do it. When Carol left, Jeff told me not to do it. Not to get the pitocin or the epidural or any of that, because we both knew how it would go. I remember being in tears, trying to persuade him that maybe I did need it after all.
Thankfully, Heather came back in. She came and said she had heard that I was thinking of getting an epidural. She could see that I was panicking and full of fear (birth's worst enemy). She told me I absolutely could do this, that Carol was wrong. I didn't need pitocin. I didn't need an epidural. I was still at an 8, and baby was still at a -1, but she said sometimes after a lot of births, the uterus or cervix or something gets lazy. She wanted to see if I could just push past it and push myself to a 10. She said all the right things and got my confidence back. So I started pushing. I pushed for a few minutes and she said it worked! I was at a 10 and this baby was going to be born soon.
Relief flooded over me. I was still a little apprehensive that her optimism wasn't realistic, but she never left my side. She stayed right there and encouraged me. She really was my angel. She saved me from a c-section, I know she did. :) She called the doctor and said I was ready to push for real.
I was still in that panicky mode and kind of shaky, but once I got into the pushing position and everything was ready, it was go time. I knew how to push. And push I did. I pushed out that baby in under 10 minutes from a -1 station. Turns out the reason my contractions were so far apart and I had trouble progressing at the end was because she was posterior-- face up. So her head wasn't applying enough pressure during the contractions to dilate me all the way. I'm glad I had already had babies and knew how to push. It's extra hard to push out a posterior baby and it took everything I had.
The silly thing was that no one knew she was posterior. I read later that you can tell. When they check, you can tell by how the head feels that the baby is posterior. And early enough in labor they can turn the baby. But I guess she was so far up there that they couldn't get a good feel? Maybe. But Heather said that was only the 8th baby she'd had that was posterior and was delivered vaginally instead of by c-section. And I knew that without her, it wouldn't have happened. She told me I could do it, and made me believe her. And I did it. I know that if Carol had been the one attending me, I would have ended up with a c-section. When Heather heard I was having trouble, she stepped in and saved me. Ironically, when Emma was actually born, Carol was in an OR--her other patient ended up with a c-section.
Since Emma came out in a weird position, I had some pretty good tearing, so they had to stitch me up. This time they didn't use any painkillers, which was ok with me, since that what hurt so much before. When Emma came out, they put her right on my chest, not wiped off or anything. And I got to hold her there and nurse her while they stitched me up, which made it more bearable. She was the sweetest little baby and from the moment I met her, I fell in love. There's something very special and spiritual about a brand new baby.
She was 8 lbs 7 ounces, which was a whole pound bigger than my other girls. She had lots of dark hair in the back and around the sides, which kind of made her look like an old man. :) But she had beautiful little features and was just perfect. That was a longer and harder delivery than I was expecting, but when she was born, I knew it was worth it. I also knew that I was going to love being her mom. I was especially grateful for that, since I had been feeling very uneasy about having five kids, not knowing if I could really handle it. But when I held her in my arms, I knew I wanted to do it.
She is just the sweetest little baby and has been relatively easy. I love everything about her. Nights are actually my favorite time of day right now because all I have to do it wake up, feed and love on my little sweetheart, then she goes back to bed very easily, and I get to go to sleep happy. :) We all love her so much!
And now some pictures to enjoy:
Notre Dame, Saint Chappell, Louvre
4 days ago