I don’t know how, but it’s already been a week since Emrist got here. I’m afraid if I wait much longer to write about her birth, I won’t remember all of the details. So here goes nothing!
On Friday, the 30th, I woke up with contractions in the middle of the night. I looked at my phone when I woke up and it was 12:22 exactly. The contractions weren’t painful, but were uncomfortable enough to keep me awake. Over the next few hours, I went from the bed, to the bathtub and to the couch several times as they intensified. I was so afraid that they would go away that I didn’t want to wake Benji or call my mom to come stay with Harper. At around 4AM, I decided it was definitely time to call my mom as the pain was getting worse. The contractions had consistently been two minutes apart and had lasted 30-4o seconds long for four hours by this point. I woke Benji up and told him I thought I was in labor. He got up, jumped in the shower and then made coffee. As we waited for my mom to arrive, he sat next to me and read during the breaks between my contractions. My mom arrived around 6AM and almost as soon as she pulled up, my contractions began to slow – AHHHHH!!!
We went to the hospital anyways. I was 3cm dilated when arrived so they decided to monitor me to see if I would make progress while I was there. My OBGYN wasn’t there at the time, therefore they didn’t want to keep me unless I got to 4cm while I was there. We stayed for about 5-6 hours. My contractions continued to slow while we were there, but I did manage to progress another half centimeter. They ended up sending me back home to walk, and the nurse said she thought she’d see me back by the end of the night, and for sure by Monday.
This is silly, but Benji and I were kind of relieved to go home because it meant we could watch the SEC Championship – ROLL TIDE! 🙂 I was also encouraged to know that my body was making progress on it’s own! I was exhausted from being up all night, so I decided not to walk or do anything to encourage labor that day. My contractions eventually stopped completely – that was kind of a bummer.
The next morning, I got up and went for a walk at 6AM to see if I could bring them back. No such luck, and I walked two miles! People were texting constantly to ask about my progress and I told Benji that I felt like I had performance anxiety. My mom left and returned to Birmingham around lunch time, and Benji took Harper out so that I could get some much needed rest. I turned my phone off, hopped into the bathtub, and had a good cry. After that I took a two hour nap. I started having sporadic contractions again after my nap. Nothing painful, and nothing regular, but they were back and I was happy for that.
We went to bed early that night, and just like last time, the contractions came on after a couple hours of sleeping. I think they came while I was sleeping because I was relaxed and not stressed. When they came this time, they got intense a lot faster than they had the first time. I ended up calling my cousin Grace to come sit with Harper because I didn’t want to wait the two hours it would take for my mom to get to our house. Grace came and we left for the hospital around 1:45AM. The ride there was just gross. It was 30ish minutes of riding on bumpy interstate while having contractions every two minutes. I utilized the breathing techniques that I had studied in hypnobirthing. They got me through every single contraction, but good gracious…they were so uncomfortable! Especially whenever we hit a bump.
We got to the hospital at 2:20AM and checked in. I was at 5.5cm so they kept me this time. The contractions continued to come and continued to grow in strength and intensity. My only birth plan before going in was that I wanted to wait until I was at least 5cm before getting an epidural if I got one (it won’t affect or slow down your labor if you can wait until 5cm). I had told Benji that ideally I would like to go natural, but that I didn’t want to lock myself into that and then feel like I *had* to if the pain was too much. We talked after the nurse left the room, and I decided to go ahead and get one because I was getting tired and I wanted a chance to rest up before pushing. By the time I got the epidural I was at 6cm. I felt awesome and so proud of my body for working without pitocin.
Over the next few hours, I didn’t make any more progress. My OBGYN eventually suggested breaking my water to see if it would make Emrist move down into my pelvis and help with dilation. I consented. When he broke my water, he joked about me doing a good job with my prenatal vitamins because it was so hard for him to break it LOL. After he was done, I got to 6.75cm and then stayed there for an eternity.
Each time the doctor would come check and tell me I was still at the same place, the more discouraged I began to feel. I started reading scripture and listening to worship music in an effort to get my mind off of the lack of progress. That helped a lot and I started to feel stronger. Sometime after one, the doctor came back in and started suggesting a csection – he had been hinting at one for a while. Benji and I asked him to leave the room so that we could discuss our options.
Emrist’s heart rate had been amazing all day, but I hadn’t made any real progress for nearly 12 hours. Benji already knew where my heart was on having a csection. He knew that I regretted my csection with Harper because I felt like I had given up and not tried hard enough. With Harper, I got stuck at 7cm for three hours, and then had a csection. For two years afterwards, I struggled with feeling like I gave up too soon and didn’t wait long enough. So we discussed it and decided to ask the doctor for more time.
When he came back, we begged for more time. He wasn’t rude or anything, but you could tell he wasn’t happy. We reminded him that Emrist’s heart rate had been fine all day, so she was obviously tolerating everything well. At this point, he started saying that with each contraction, my scar could rupture, so the longer I was in labor, the more dangerous things got. We eventually got him to compromise with us. We originally asked for two hours more of laboring, and we got him to agree to one.
When he left the room, I began to cry. I felt defeated, discouraged and broken. I had come in 100% sure that I was going to be able to have a vaginal birth, and at this point, I knew I was going to have a csection. My amazing husband sat and cried with me and fought each negative thought that I voiced with love and affirmation. He was so strong for me. He was just what I needed. After an hour had passed, I was still at the same spot and was prepped for a csection.
I feel like I’m writing a novel, so I won’t go into much detail on the actual csection. Just like last time, my epidural wore off. Just like last time, the anesthesiologist kept asking me to move my legs and I could when I shouldn’t have been able to. Unlike last time, she listened and gave me a crap-ton of medication in my IV. Each time she would redose me, she would do something and ask me what it felt like. Sometimes I knew, and sometimes I didn’t. When I could tell her, her eyes would widen in astonishment lol. She kept giving me more meds and I started to feel strange. She slanted the table down to where my head was pointing to the ground in hopes that gravity would help the meds move to the locations where I was still able to feel. Nothing really worked and I could always feel *something*. She gave me something that caused my blood pressure to drop and I started to think maybe I was dying. When they started the surgery, I could feel pressure, and occasionally, I could feel cutting. At this point, I just went ahead and asked her to knock me out because I didn’t want it to get as bad as it had during Harper’s csection.
I was awake for Emrist’s arrival, but I don’t remember any of it because I was on my way out. When I woke up, Benji and Emrist were gone from the OR. I asked for them and the nurse told me that I had seen Emrist after she was born. I lost it and started to cry because I had no memory of it. The nurse thought I was crying because I was in pain. I just told her I was hormonal lol. I continued to cry all the way from the OR to the recovery room and then Benji came with Emrist 🙂 I was able to have skin-to-skin with her and to breastfeed (she’s awesome at it, btw) and that made everything better. Benji showed me pictures that I had taken with them and told me that I posed everyone for the picture, and my mind was seriously blown because I didn’t remember a thing! I’m still sad not to have those memories.
Emrist was 8 lbs 5 oz and 19.75 inches long at birth. Everyone kept talking about how big she was and I was like…umm, no! You should have seen my son! All 9lbs 11oz of him. She is a piece of paper compared to what he weighed!
We left the hospital on Wednesday – I asked to go home a day early because I just HATE staying in the hospital! Things have been pretty good since. My emotional state is so much better than it was when I had Harper. I’m happy and not anxious/depressed.
I didn’t get the VBAC that I wanted, but I did receive healing of the guilt I had over Harper’s birth. I always blamed myself for that csection. Maybe if I hadn’t had pitocin, or maybe if I hadn’t gotten the epidural at 2cm…maybe then I would have been able to birth him instead of having him cut from me – those were my thoughts. Well, this time I did all the right things, and it turned out exactly the same way. The doctor said he thinks my pelvis may just be too small since Emrist never moved down into it. This made me feel better about both births. I didn’t have csections because of lack of effort or because I didn’t try. I had them because I just had to and it was out of my hands.
Here are some pictures 🙂
Benji getting ready to catch Emrist LOL
Harper meeting Emrist
Mommy and Emrist. Gosh, I love her.