Emma Clare: A Birth Story

This week I had my 6 week postpartum check up. As I sat in the waiting room holding baby Emma I was blown away by how fast time has gone. It feels like just yesterday I was waddling my way up the stairs (elevators are for chumps), and checking in at the receptionists desk completely out of breath. So before Emma turns 2, I figured it was probably a good idea to get her birth story out. I love writing up my birth stories. For the more traumatic births (looking at you Peter and James) it's been healing and for the almost perfect birth (Aria) it's a joy to relive...

The third trimester always kinda sucks. You can't sleep, you pee every 5 minutes, and you eat everything in sight (maybe that last one is just me?). With this, my fourth pregnancy, I found the third trimester to be one of the hardest to date. I'm sure it was because I had three other little people who need me and there was just simply no time to rest but also because ummm this was my fourth pregnancy in four years. My body was like "ok done" at 28 weeks. I took it day by day, nap by nap and just tried to be patient with myself. 39 weeks FINALLY rolled around and I was ready to roll. I had an induction scheduled for the morning of April 15th and I was like LET'S DO THIS THING. I had been having contractions on and off since 38 weeks so I knew my body was ready to roll. 

Around 4:00 a.m. on the 15th I was awoken by some back contractions and I knew that it meant Emma had flipped to sunny side up, that little stinker. They were pretty far apart and fairly mild so I was able to sleep in-between each one. At 5:30 a.m. I got a call from the hospital saying they didn't have any delivery rooms open so my induction was pushed. I almost said "totally fine, see you later!" because I knew it didn't matter, I was in early labor anyway. I got up, made coffee (obviously), and started to get ready. I woke up Andrew and told him the induction had been pushed but it didn't really matter because I was in early labor. Andrew gave me a very sleepy thumbs up and lazily made his way to the shower (this is what happens when it's your fourth kid). The contractions were getting stronger (like had to stop what I was doing stronger) but still far apart at 7-8 minutes. So around 6:45 we said goodbye to the kids and my sister who had come to stay with them, and headed out the door.

Then the worst thing ever happened. My contractions came to a dead stop. I knew that this was the real deal and didn't want to turn around and go back home so I made Andrew stop at Panera for some food. He went inside to get me some oatmeal and while he was gone I did lunges around the parking lot, desperate to get those contractions going. After Andrew grabbed our food I made the call to keep going to the hospital. My deliveries go really fast (James was almost born in the car) so I didn't really want to take an chances by going back home. I was sent to triage and explained my situation. Pretty sure the nurses thought I was faking because my induction was pushed and I was just trying to weasel my way in. I was 4cm dilated but my contractions were still no where to be found. The triage nurse humored me and said I could go walk for an hour and then reevaluate. She said all I needed was to either dilate one more centimeter or get the contractions going again and they'd admit me.

I was determined not to be sent home. I was practically running around the hospital. I was squatting and lunging every time we turned a corner. I WAS NOT GOING HOME. My hard work was paying off because the contractions were back and they were 6-7 minutes apart. After an hour of walking and contracting I made it back to triage. I laid back in bed and they hooked me up. 

Contractions stopped.

So then I slid out of bed, doing my best to keep the fetal monitors in the right spot, and began to do sets of squats. Andrew sat in his chair and coached me along. Pretty soon the contractions were back and the nurses finally believed me that I was in labor. I was 5cm dilated and they told me I was officially "not going home without a baby". Heck yes. 

However...there was still the problem of not having enough delivery rooms available. Andrew joked with the nurse that I could basically have the baby in the hallway and be fine. She laughed nervously and started to explain why that wouldn't be possible. I guess she didn't realize he was kidding? Anyway...from there things started to move pretty quick. It's like, as soon as I knew I wasn't going home, baby Emma was like "oh it's GO TIME." The nurse came in and said it was between me and another lady for the next open delivery room. We were both in about the same spot. 

Oh really?

Suddenly it was a competition.

Cue more squats.

I won.

As we walked over to the delivery room I promised the nurses I would be in and out of the room super quick and then they could give it to the next lady. They nodded and smiled and clearly didn't believe me. So I got settled into a lovely delivery room with lots of natural light streaming through the window #instagramaddict. Then my favorite nurse in the world and good family friend came in. She had rearranged her schedule just to make sure she was there. That day she was getting her push present (new tattoo) but had moved the appointment to later in the day so that she could help me get this baby out. Such a good friend. My OB then came in and broke my water and kaboom, we were in business. Then the anesthesiologist came in to give me the drugs *cheers and applause*. He came in wearing a University of Michigan scrub cap in which I immediately complimented him on. The man was about to stick a giant needle in my back, I was going to make sure I was on his GOOD side. We chatted about our connection to Michigan and other small talk. Then he was done. Now getting an epidural is not a walk in the park. There are pros and cons to both medicated and natural birth. Pick you poison kinda thing. Giant needle to the back? Definitely a con.

Anyway the epidural was in, I was feeling good, and the contractions were getting faster and harder. I was at 6cm by this point. We hung out for about an hour and then my OB came back to see where I was at. Helloooooo 10 cm! Everything was then prepped for delivery and it was time to push. After 4 minutes of pushing little baby Emma (7 pounds and 1 ounce) was welcomed into the world. Sure enough, she came out doing the back stroke. Baby girl had indeed flipped herself within like 12 hours. But that didn't matter at all. Suddenly she was here and on my chest, so snuggly, so squishy, and so blonde. Like really blonde! And angry. She was totally doing an angry cry. When newborns cry it's usually one of three things; sleepy, hungry or gassy. Baby Emma? She was hungry. That little eater nursed for 20 minutes almost immediately after being born and then passed out like a champ. After our hour of skin to skin, we were moved to the recovery room.

When we got to our room we were met with the most wonderful surprise. Our nurse/good friend had decorated the whole room! Streamers, banners, and confetti. There also may or may not have been a bottle of champagne waiting for us. We stayed one night at the hospital. Family visited and the kids met their baby sister or the very first time. Seriously that moment? When the missing puzzle piece finally falls into place? Incredible. Emma was then cleared for discharge and so was I. We were home Saturday evening and it was wonderful. After the births of my last three I always felt some panic and anxiety when we got home. But not this time. Just contentment and happiness. 

Welcome to the world Emma Clare you are so so loved.

Full hands, Full Heart

-Susana