Since this is my blog, I decided I’d share Emery’s birth story here. So, be forewarned, this is a Mom’s story of labor and birth. If you aren’t a fan of such things, you should probably stop reading now and go to The Pastor’s blog for his manly take on the event!
Saturday morning, about 10 am, I started feeling some back pain. I had been having contractions on and off for quite a while (weeks) but they were nothing serious. By the time the Pastor returned home from doing a funeral, it was close to lunch time. My back was hurting and I could tell my contractions were becoming more often. I decided to take a shower, hoping that would stall the “false” contractions.
We took the kids to lunch and had a nice time together. I began to realize that my contractions were getting closer together, but didn’t think too much about it. It wasn’t until I couldn’t finish my taco salad that I thought something might really be going on. We timed my contractions on the way home. They were 8 to 10 minutes apart.
At home, I tried to rest and think of anything else. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that my contractions were not stopping. Once they got to 6 to 8 minutes apart, I called my doctor. (He had sternly warned me to call AS SOON as I got to 6 to 8 minutes apart or when my water broke. No excuses!) He told me to get right to the hospital, since my delivery with Imogene was so quick (4 hours start to finish). He even gave me very specific instructions on what to do if I began to transition in the car or before I got to the hospital. I really didn’t think he needed to worry about that, but told him I’d call him if things got crazy.
We made the necessary calls for childcare for the older two. The Pastor rushed around, finishing the things I’d been telling him to do for weeks. (He really is such a procrastinator.)
I arrived at the hospital having contractions 3 to 5 minutes apart. I was hopeful that I would be having the baby soon! What a shock to find out I was only 3 cm dilated and 30 percent effaced! Emery was still at -3. So, I was sent to walk for an hour. I walked and walked! The pastor complained that I was killing his old knees, but I told him to suck it up. I went back to my room to be checked again. I was hoping to be halfway there. No such luck. Only 1 more cm dilated and now at 40 percent effaced. Emery had moved down to -2. Ugh! My doctor stripped my membranes, which was extremely painful. I was hoping it would help. I was sent to walk for another hour. So, another long hour of brisk walking the halls and chatting with the pastor. I hoped to certainly be further along! Nope. So, I walked for another 30 minutes, then had to be monitored for a few minutes. Then another 30 minutes of walking followed by a few more minutes of monitoring. (Yes, I walked THAT much!) My contractions continued around 3 to 5 minutes apart.
Finally at 2 am I was 6 cm and the doctor asked if he could break my water. He could feel the bag buldging when he checked me and hoped that breaking my water would put Emery further down. I was expecting the rupture of my membranes to hurt, but it didn’t.
From 2 am to 4 am, the Pastor took a little cat nap and I stayed on my leash (hospital policy said I had to be on continuos monitoring throughout my labor because of my previous c-section) near the bed, standing and swaying- doing all I could to convince the boy to move down! At 4 am, I was still 6 (maybe 7) cm and still only about 60 percent effaced and Emery was still at -2! So, after a talk with Dr. Tate, I told the nurse I was refusing continuos monitoring and I went for another walk. It was a much more difficult walk. I was having to stop every 2 minutes for painful contractions. After 30 minutes of walking, I returned to the room for more monitoring.
It was a few minutes after 4 in the morning.Emery began acting up a bit at this point. His heart rate started going up with each contraction and it became evident that he needed to get out quick. The problem? I was still only 7 cm dilated, 60 percent effaced, and -2 station. There wasn’t enough time to get me on pitocin (it would take at least 30 minutes to obtain before they could even begin administering it. My doctor didn’t want to have to do a c-section if there could be another option, but Emery had to get out of there soon! So, my doctor had me push through a contraction to see what my cervix would do while pushing. It dilated more while pushing, almost completely effaced, and put Emery at 0 station. So, he had me push through each contraction as he manually helped dilate my cervix and get it out of the way. Let me tell you, this was incredibly uncomfortable, but extremely efficient. To be honest, I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think it was doing anything. (I couldn’t see what was happening and I knew it didn’t FEEL like I was completely dilated yet.) I started feeling like it was a helpless situation, despite the coaching to keep going. I didn’t know what kind of progress I was making, or couldn’t comprehend if I was told what progress was coming. At some point during this, Emery had to rotate. He turned during one contraction of pushing and I did hear the students comment at being able to see him turn. It still didn’t occur to me that they could physically see him at this point. At a seemingly random point, the doctor announced that I was complete. He really didn’t have to announce it because I immediately knew. I think I really got whiney at that point. (It was at that point with Imogene that I got whiney, too.) I kept pushing. What else can you do at that point? I heard someone tell me he had hair. I kept pushing. It still didn’t occur to me his head was, at that point, coming out. I knew he was crowning, I could tell from the burning sensation, but I didn’t know how it was coming along. I just kept pushing. It was all so confusing at that point. I was being told multiple things all at once. Push. Don’t push. Pant. Push easy. Push. I asked what to do. I was told to wait and not push. I asked what they were doing down there. I was very shocked when they said they were suctioning his nose out. His nose was out? His head was out? Are you kidding me?! Then, his shoulders had to come out. So, I don’t remember shoulders being so difficult to push out. I kind of remember Imogene just slipping out as soon as her head was out. Emery had to be pushed out at every point. He was finally out! I couldn’t see him due to my angle. I couldn’t contort my body enough to see what was going on down there. I asked why I didn’t hear crying. They told me not to worry. The Pastor was telling me I did great, he looks great, don’t worry. I was still freaking out a bit when I finally heard a small cry!
The Pastor cut the cord. He really was very happy about this. With our previous babies, he had made a little “pretend” cut. (They cut the cord, then let him recut it later for ceremony.) He was excited to actually make the real cut.
Emery was then placed on my tummy while they cover him with warm blankets. He was so little. To be completely honest, the first thing I did was to check and make sure it was a little boy. He just didn’t look boyish. But he is, indeed, a boy!
Emery was taken to a little baby table next to my bed to get checked out and get his vitamin K shot. (I refused the eye ointment with him.) And I delivered the placenta. Now, I also don’t remember that being painful before, but it was a little bit more painful than I remember it being. The Pastor actually looked at the placenta this time after there being so much discussion about placentas. He wasn’t really impressed.
Emery’s apgars were 6 and 8. While they were checking him and he was administering his own oxygen, they checked me out. No tearing! That really surprised me. Emery is my biggest baby so far and I had no tearing despite his quick arrival.
Emery weighed in at 6 lbs. 13 oz. He was 19.25″ long. He is a very handsome little man! So, I had a successful VBAC. (Perhaps I should write my previous OB and let her know I didn’t explode and die.) I feel great. Emery is having some breathing issues and is in the NICU. We are hoping and praying he will be out of the NICU soon. Pray with us. All in all, it was a great birth experience. Despite the discomforts. Despite the difficulties. It was great!