Thursday, December 9, 2010

Emmeline's birth story

The picture (taken the first or second day after we came home) was a common scene at our house for the first few weeks...Asher and/or Luke playing with Emmeline's toys while she was nearby, screaming because I kept hoping they would work on entertaining her.

Just when I began to think of Emmeline's birthday as being November 22nd (I was scheduling an induction for that day so I didn't have to be in the hospital over Thanksgiving), I went into labor, but even then, I wasn't so sure it was labor because the contractions didn't feel much different than the contractions I had been having every day for the past two weeks.

So, Thursday, November 18th, began like any other, but I was feeling a little brighter because I had a doctor's appointment and was getting my membranes stripped. And, even if worse came to worse, I'd only have 4 more nights of sleeping (or not sleeping as the case may be) as a gigantic pregnant woman.

I went to my ob at 9:40, and she said, "I think you're going to have this baby tonight." I said, "Really? Well, strip my membranes anyway so I do!"

Then, I went to Asher's Thanksgiving feast at school (with Asher and Luke while thinking, "I wonder if these are contractions." And, "Do I really want to be throwing up this Thanksgiving feast if I am in labor? Meh, it'll probably taste the same coming up as going down..."). Yelled at my kids the whole time (awesome) and came home to try and rest.

That's when I realized those were contractions. Still not daring to hope, it took me until about 2:30 to cancel piano lessons and call Nate and tell him to come home. Nate said he was on his way and arrived at about 4.

At 4:10, we're leaving for the hospital while Nate is saying, "You know, Emily, those contractions don't seem to be that bad," which is not something to tell a laboring women. Though, really, he was right. They weren't bad, but they were 3-4 minutes apart, and I was not going to be one of those women who they say, "I'm sorry, ma'am, but you're too close to be getting an epidural now."

We get into triage at 4:45 or something like that. They see I'm already at a 7 (7--awesome!) and send me up quickly to Labor and Delivery. Within 20 minutes of getting there, I have my precious epidural (said with Golum-like intensity) and they've started my penicillin for Strep B because they're worried that I won't make it for the two doses in 5 hours.

Labor goes well except for some blood pressure dropping on my part, which led to some nausea that not even Zofran could keep up with. All the while, people at the hospital (students, staff, maybe someone off the street was interested for all I know) keep asking if they can watch while I deliver. I don't know if I would have been so willing with #1 or #2, but I've lost all pride, and I'll do what I can to train a rising generation of healthcare professionals (especially if all they're doing is watching).

By the time I'm ready to push, there are 12 women and Nate in my room. It was lovely to have a chorus of women there for the birth of my girl, and it was the most painful delivery (probably having something to do with the 9 pound 6 oz individual I was birthing), so I was happy to push to encouraging words in surround sound.

At 9:10 pm, I got my last dose of penicillin, and at 9:20 (or something like that), Emmeline was born. She didn't cry right away, and I started to see the panic in peoples' faces that we saw with Asher's birth.

The nice thing about my brain when my babies aren't breathing is that it goes into complete and utter DE-NIAL. Both times I've seen the worried looks on doctors and nurses faces, I've watched the neo-natal specialists turn their backs to me as they pound on my baby. I feel the tension in the room, and I rather serenely have thought both times, "He/She will breathe. There's just NO way they won't." (This is especially silly considering my former career as a chaplain where I saw several babies who didn't breath after birth.)

So, while I'd like to say it's because I have awesome mother's intuition and KNOW that things will be ok, I think it's just that the alternative is completely unfathomable to a woman in that situation.

And, she did breath about 6 seconds before she would have had to go to the NICU. So, they gave her back to me, and she started nursing right away. She was/is a pro!

Such a pro, that she nursed ALL NIGHT and cried often and rather incessantly until my milk came in 3 days later. (The nurse on the first night recommended that I cup feed her some formula, which I dismissed remembering that "babies aren't hungry until the milk comes in") The nurse the next day recommended cup feeding. By 5 pm the second day, I gave in, and Emmeline gratefully gulped down the tepid formula and slept for 5 hours. Whoops...

Emma has been a pleasure every since my milk came in. She's content to sit in her swing, wakes on a schedule of her own every night at 11 and 2:30 to nurse.

In fact, she's just lovely unless you forget to feed her. Then, heaven help us all, she'll go from quite to a wail that sounds like she hasn't been fed in 50 years.


sylvia/ticklethepear said...

Wow. I don't know what I'd do in that situation.

brandonm said...

I love birth stories! Especially when I've just experienced one!