Emerson Charlotte: A Birth Story

Sunday, October 1, 2017

We welcomed our second bundle of love and I'm so grateful to Adam for many reasons, but right now specifically for taking notes on labor! I love that I wrote down Aiden's birth story - I go back and re-read it all the time. And I'm thrilled that God gave us the opportunity to now be writing down a SECOND birth story! Here we go...

Fun fact about second pregnancies that no one told me, apparently you start having contractions and other "labor signs" a lot sooner than with your first. I had contractions starting around 36 or 37 weeks, so I figured this baby would be early. Silly me. I lost part of my mucus plug 11 days before this little one was born, and I'm pretty sure I lost mine RIGHT before labor with Aiden, so that was another fun mind game. Basically, I spent most of weeks 37-39 just waiting for labor to start. It never did, and I finally resigned myself to the fact that I don't have early babies. I was pretty frustrated at how frustrated I got - I wanted to soak in every last second with Aiden and Adam before our life changed forever, but I spent so much of those last few weeks anticipating labor! Oh, well. LIFE!

Hurricane Irma came storming in (pun intended!), which brought Maggie and 8-month-old Maren to our house for a little over a week starting on Friday, September 8. They were amazing house guests and a great distraction!

I went in for (what turned out to be) my last prenatal appointment on Thursday, September 14 and saw my favorite midwife, Leah, after spending my last ten appointments doing Centering. She helped calm me down from a terrible nightmare I had two nights prior - that our baby was born dead. (Seriously, worst nightmare. I woke up crying and started panicking that I needed this baby OUT of me.) Heartbeat sounded great and she said baby was very, very low. I didn't let it get me excited, because - remember? - I thought I was going to have a baby a couple weeks earlier. 

There were a couple things about labor that I specifically prayed for throughout this pregnancy... That it would be painless, quick, safe and healthy. That I would be able to deliver vaginally, and ideally naturally. That the baby would move into an optimal position (s/he had been sunny side up for a good bit of the last part of pregnancy, and I did so many ridiculous things to get him/her to move). The last month or so I started praying that my labor would start with my water breaking. I was so sick of having contractions that went nowhere and just wanted a clear sign!

I woke up early Sunday morning, September 17, around 1am to pee and my water broke! Not nearly as dramatic as the movies, I really just thought I peed myself a little bit, but there was a small gush. It continued to trickle throughout the morning. Since I wasn't having contractions, I forced myself to go back to sleep (after being giddy with excitement for a couple hours!). I got up around 6:30 and walked in circles in the living room trying to get contractions started. I called the midwife on call, Beth (she delivered Aiden!), who told me to try to get to the hospital by 10. At 7:30 I decided to wake Adam up with the exciting news! (Aren't I such a good wife?? I knew he would need his rest and if I told him when my water broke there is no way he would have been able to go back to sleep.) We called my mom and told her to make her way over to pick up Aiden and then called Debbie and shared the fun news with her, too! We went to wake Aiden up and told her she was about to be a big sister. And because she's two she could not have cared less. It was so nice to get those final moments with her as my only babe.



My mom picked Aiden up around 8:15, and Adam and I started walking around the neighborhood to try to kick start contractions. We walked for over an hour and then decided to finish packing our bags and get ready to head to the hospital. At this point, very mild contractions had started and were about 8 minutes apart - but hey, it's a start!

We arrived at the hospital around 10:45 and checked into triage. With Aiden, we were immediately put into a room because triage was full, so this was a different experience. (The entire experience was totally different!) That first time, I was already in full on labor, and the process of getting to the hospital and getting all checked in just about sent me into a panic attack because I was also trying to work through my contractions. This time around I was totally chill while they checked my vitals, confirmed it was my water that broke and checked my progress. I was 70% effaced, -2 station and 2cm dilated. To be honest, I was a little disappointed to hear I was only 2cm - I had been contracting for weeks! We had to wait about an hour or so to be put into a L&D room, and we were antsy to get walking, bouncing, anything to get this moving faster. 

The contractions started picking up in intensity and closeness (about 2-3 minutes apart) while we walked the halls and around 3pm I decided to get in the shower. Oh my gosh, it was heaven. It turns out it was heaven because it basically stalled out my labor. I had this vision in my head that I was just so relaxed and when I got out I was going to get checked and be ready to push. Unfortunately, that was not reality. As soon as I got out of the shower, contractions picked up again, but were definitely farther apart. The midwives (the amazing Dani and Rachel - my Centering peeps!) wanted to hold off on checking me as much as possible since my water was broken and had been so long. But they did check me at 4:45pm and I was only 3cm. This was very disheartening and I kind of started to panic. Rachel recommended we try using a breast pump/nipple stimulation for an hour OR get started on Pitocin to get the train moving.

At this point, my water had been broken for roughly 16 hours. Depending on where you deliver, each hospital kind of has their own rules about this. Luckily, Kennestone lets you keep going as long as momma and baby aren't in distress. If I had started running a fever, they would have given me antibiotics, but a forced c-section was never even discussed (although I'm sure it would have been down the road). 

We decided to skip the breast pump and get started with Pitocin. Like I said, I was very disheartened to hear I had only progressed 1cm in 5 hours and I kind of started panicking. I kept thinking the labor was going to end up like Aiden's and couldn't stop crying. Needless to say, this made my contractions a lot harder to manage and I felt like I was getting out of control. Adam was amazing, as usual, and was such an incredible partner. We talked to our nurse and midwives about the epidural around 6:30, but wanted to hold off on making a decision. Another reason I was so upset is because I really just wanted the epidural, but felt shameful for even wanting it. Which made me even more upset because WHY DOES IT MATTER?? Why can't I just get the epidural and not care?? The midwives did a great job walking me through the epidural and calming me down. Adam reminded me that he was 100% on my side and was so proud of me regardless of my decision. He also reminded me that God has such a perfect birth story for us, and that could very well include an epidural. (Isn't he the best?!) I also realized that someone talking to me during a contraction was really helping me manage my pain, so poor Adam had to sit there and tell me all these stories during my contractions. I got to hear a lot of good ones! haha. 

Before we made the decision, Rachel checked me around 7pm and I was STILL at 3cm. She actually recommended the epidural at that point (totally out of character for her, bless her!), so away we went. Dr. Wheaton came in with the magic potion at 8pm and saved the day. I was so happy to finally be able to rest! Even though labor with Aiden was 100x longer, I was so much more exhausted this time around. Adam asked Rachel how long we could expect to labor once I had the epidural (are we talking 30 minutes or 12 hours?). She guessed we'd be able to get some good rest and start pushing in 6 hours or so, but really couldn't say.

(Random side note: I LOVED my epidural with this babe! With Aiden, I was completely numb and it was frustrating that I couldn't feel anything while pushing. This time, I could feel pressure, but no pain. I knew when I was having a contraction, so I could push with it. Apparently it's all about how the doctor does it, so I'm signing up for Dr. Wheaton's epidural with any other kids.)

Our nurse (who we LOVED!!!), Debbie, put me into some funky positions to try to get baby to move. Based on my contractions, they could tell baby was in a weird position (of course s/he was). Rachel came in at 9:15pm and said baby's heart was decelerating with the contractions, which meant we had either made a ton of progress or something else was up that we'd have to figure out. She checked me again and I was 9cm!!!! I went from 3cm to 9cm in an hour. We were SO excited! She said to let them know when I started to feel pressure and they'd check me again and we'd start pushing (if that's where we were). 

Around 10:15pm I started to feeling pressure so they came in to start doing a couple practice pushes. At 10:45pm we were officially pushing! They had me push all sorts of ways... the traditional way, playing tug of war, using handlebars, on my sides. They were all confused because baby's head was moving the entire way down and they couldn't tell what position s/he was in. Usually babies do that at the top of the birth canal as they get into position or at the very end when they come out. Our babe was dancing all the way down! At first this was concerning me, because I didn't know if it meant there was a chance our baby wouldn't be able to be pushed out. They quickly told me that s/he was making its way down, it was just odd.

We didn't use a mirror this time (yay for that), so they had me reach down and feel the head a couple times. And then, with one final push - baby came out completely! It felt so bizarre and cool! Baby went from the tip of the head out to being completely out in one push! Babe also came out sunny side up with eyes wide open - if you watch the video below, this is why Adam's looks so shocked. 

Toward the end of pushing, we all kept looking at the clock because we weren't sure what the birthdate was going to be. Just after midnight, baby arrived! Turns out our baby shares a birthday with the midwife who delivered her (thank you, Rachel!).

Since we didn't know if baby was a girl or boy, Adam got to announce it! (You can watch the video here, but keep in mind - it's a baby being born.) It was one of the coolest moments, ever!! We'll never find out the gender with any (God willing) future kids, it was so fun to be surprised! And the nurses and midwives all got in on it, too. It was just too fun!

Overall, Adam and I had a great day laboring! Even with the minor anxiety attack I had, I already look back with nothing but the best memories. I'm so glad we were able to labor naturally for awhile and also so glad that I decided to get the epidural when I did. We had the labor dream team with Debbie (our nurse), Dani and Rachel. They were seriously the best and made the experience that much better. (Adam still takes away the gold medal for best coach of all time.) When Aiden was born, I was just shell-shocked. With Emerson, I was able to really be in the moment and take it all in. We also got to spend a solid 45 minutes or so just soaking her in before they had to take her to the warming table to do her vitals and take some blood (since my water was broken for so long). I tore in the exact same place as Aiden, but didn't even notice them stitching me up because Adam and I were just soaking in our sweet baby. It was a beautiful experience and I am so grateful for the perfect birth stories God has written for both of our babies. (Although I certainly enjoyed this one a lot more!).

Introducing Emerson Charlotte Baker
Monday, September 18, 2017
12:08am
8lbs 5oz
21"




According to my last period, Emerson was born at 39 weeks 6 days, but according to my first ultrasound (which I think is more accurate), she was born at 40 weeks, 5 days. Friendly reminder to myself next time, I DON'T HAVE EARLY BABIES.

Random side note: We did a Baby Poll with our family and friends, which was so fun. See the results here. Congrats, dad!

Thank you, God, for another beautiful little girl you've entrusted us to love, protect and raise. You are a good, good Father and we are grateful for answered prayers. We are in heaven!

2 comments:

  1. I have been anxiously awaiting this birth story!! I'm so glad that it went the way it did, and that everyone is healthy! I can't wait to meet baby Emerson!!

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