This was written for my daughter Emerson :
Warning! I left all details in.
Early in the morning on January 14th, I got up around 3am to go to the bathroom. When I laid back down I could tell something was a little off and then a crampy lower back contraction hit me. It wasn’t bad, but I thought I should time it anyways so I laid there for the next hour timing contractions that came every 13 minutes or so and lasted about a minute and a half. I was super excited to have sort of consistent contractions and quickly woke Sam after that first hour! We stayed awake all morning timing the to see if they got any closer together. They never did, but also never got stronger.
I called my midwife at the Birth and Women’s Center in Dallas and it was decided that I would come in for my appointment we had previously scheduled for 11am and check to see how things were progressing. Sam decided to go to work and I promised to update him on how things went. I spent the morning on the couch and eventually the contractions tapered off. When I went to see the midwife I hadn’t had a contraction for a while and she checked me to confirm I was still at 1.5cm (the same as two weeks ago) but that you had definitely dropped. She also reminded me that it could be today, but it could also be 3 days from now. At that point I was still 4 days from my due date so I didn’t want her to strip my membranes or do anything to try to induce labor.
Sam and I went to lunch afterwards at The Stackhouse, and I ate the biggest sandwich of my life (with sweet potato fries!). I went home a little sad that I wouldn’t be seeing you that day and reported to the family what was going on. I took a nap on the couch and woke up around 2pm with the feeling of contractions again. I let Mom know and she told me she was going to get in the car soon and head here from Abilene. I felt bad about this because I didn’t want her waiting around for 4 days (or longer) while we waited for you to arrive, but as the afternoon wore on I was suddenly really thankful she was on her way!
We know that walking is great for labor, so I decided to go to Target and return a few gifts and spend some time walking around the store. I had about 3 contractions in Target, strong enough that I couldn’t talk through them. The lady at the checkout counter saw my belly and asked when you were coming and I told her “hopefully today!” She didn’t think that was very funny and repeated “No, when are you due?” so I told her 4 days from now and she just looked at me funny and didn’t say another word to me.
I got back home and spent the next couple hours on the couch with a heat pack on my lower back to help with the pain. I ate a huge sandwich because I knew I would need my energy later. I couldn’t find a comfortable position laying down, on the birth ball, or on my hands and knees so I stayed sitting indian style on the couch. Mom finally got to the house around 6pm and Sam was soon after. I was definitely starting to have pretty strong contractions and felt the need to close my eyes during them. Mom called Aunt Tonia and asked her to come over to take pictures of me laboring and eventually of your birth.
At this point Sam was still convinced they weren’t really real and that we weren’t having a baby that day. I called the midwife around 9pm to let her know I was laboring, and she timed a few contractions but told me they weren’t close enough and to wait until they were 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, and consistent for 1 hour. Time flew for me and next thing I knew it was midnight and I realized I couldn’t imagine driving to the birth center in this pain and that it was only going to get worse, so we better leave then! We called the midwife and I still wasn’t very consistent with my contractions but she agreed to meet us there at 1am.
I threw up as we were getting ready to get in the car, and orange juice up my nose made me miserable. The only thing that seemed to help was when Mom or Sam would hold my forehead and head in between their hands to sort of support my head. I’m not sure why this was helpful, except it helped me feel a little more in control. I kept my eyes closed the whole 25 minute car ride there and had 4 or 5 contractions. I felt like my body was being especially nice to me! When we arrived at the birth center I had a contraction right at the door and when it was over she asked me to come upstairs to be checked. She checked and I was only at 4cm, but confirmed I was in labor. I already knew I was, but I think that helped everyone else realize it! On our way down to the birth room I had a contraction on the stairs and had to throw up again (yuck! Orange juice in the nose is no fun!). At this point I hadn’t been able to keep water or orange juice down for a while.
When we entered the birth room I had definitely reached the next phase. I was hardly aware of time or what my body was doing, I was just focused on getting through the contraction. Sam helped me lay on the bed where the midwife checked me again and said I was already to 6cm! Just from going down the stairs. As I lay there for a contraction she asked if I wanted her to start a bath. I said “Yes!” and immediately wanted to jump in there, but had to wait for it to fill up. As we waited I had another contraction and involuntarily started pushing. It was a little scary and definitely painful, and so out of my control. My body was just doing what it thought was natural.
I slowly got in the tub because it was so hot and immediately felt relief in the next contraction. It was amazing! I was so frustrated that I hadn’t gotten in there sooner. The only problem was I would go from being suffocatingly hot, to shivering cold so Sam filled up a container with cold cold water so I could dip my hand in it when I got hot. I made a lot of noise when I had contractions at this point and definitely expressed to everyone there how much it hurt. At this point the midwife checked me again and I was at 10cm! My water still hadn’t broken, and didn’t look like it was going to, but I was definitely pushing. She frantically called the birth assistant who still hadn’t arrived and told her to get there fast! I was moving much quicker than anyone had anticipated. She kept asking me “are you sure you haven’t done this before?”
Thankfully the birth assistant arrived about 5 minutes later and they broke my water. I began actively pushing and she told me to reach down and feel your head. There was so much hair! I couldn’t believe it! That was maybe the only times I opened my eyes in the tub, I was so focused. After each contraction they had to track your heart rate to make sure you weren’t in distress. You were so low in the birth canal that they had trouble finding it, but eventually did each time and you were consistently doing great! The midwife was so encouraging and at one point told me I didn’t have to wait for a contraction to push. She told me later that I “went someplace” because I had decided I had enough of this and I was ready to push you out. I could feel myself tearing, so I told the midwife, but there was nothing I could do at that point but push!
You came out so quickly after that! Sam caught you and immediately brought you up to my chest at 2:58am on January 15, 2015. We watched you change from bright purple/gray to bright red as you began screaming you tiny little head off. You grabbed on to my fingers and just yelled! I held you while we waited for the umbilical cord to quit pulsing and then they clamped it and handed scissors to Sam for him to cut it. It was really hard to cut and he started to worry he was hurting you. You got handed back to Sam as I got out of the tub and we all climbed into bed together while they stitched my tear up. We then got to weigh (6.2lbs) and measure (19inches long) you. You were so tiny! I then delivered your placenta and found out it was a little unusual because the cord was growing from the side, not the middle.
Finally when that was done I got the chance to feed you for the first time. You took to it like you were starving! I was so proud! We laid and snuggled for hours while the birth assistant came by every once in a while to do temperature checks, blood pressure, and remind me to eat and drink. I had a really hard time going to the bathroom because I had thrown up all my liquids beforehand, so I had to focus on that before they would allow us to leave. Sam held you while they pricked you heel for the state, gave you a vitamin K shot in the leg, and put azithromycin in your eyes. Your first poop was so much! I was sure you had lost ½ a pound in that diaper. We poured olive oil on your bottom so the meconium poop wouldn’t stick to your bottom.
Because you and I were doing so well they told us we could leave the birth center at 9am. They gave us a huge list of things to watch out for, and we set up an appointment for the birth assistant to come by a few days later and check on both of us. Sam got you loaded into the car seat and we all headed home! I was so thankful to have both him and Mom there! We spent the next few hours loving and admiring you until Edie, Bruce, and Dad got there and Sam and I got to take a much needed nap. Overall I can’t image your birth going any smoother and I’m so happy you came out healthy and beautiful! We love you so much!