As all good birth stories go, this one is way too long with lots of little details. Probably too many details at some points, but I want to remember as much as I can. So enjoy the read or just scroll for the pictures. 😉
It was Friday afternoon, June 30th at my 39 (+5 days) week checkup that things started rolling. The Dr. started her regular checkup routine, noted everything looked great (80% effaced and 1cm dilated) and ready to go at any time. She then asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes to see if that would really start things going. We went ahead and scheduled an induction in case baby girl decided to not come soon, then headed home to see how things would play out. I had my last 4-6pm work shift that afternoon, and during that shift my contractions started. At first, not close together at all, but pretty regular. As the evening progressed, my contractions continued to get stronger and closer together. To distract from the pain, Loren and I took a couple of shorts walks, watched some shows, did a little nursery photoshoot and I made sure everything was ready at home.
Around 11 pm, the contractions were close enough for us to call the Dr. and see if she wanted us to come in. She gave us the green light and we checked into the hospital around 11:30 pm. After getting settled in and hooked up to monitors in triage, the nurse checked to see how dilated I was, and I was still at a 1. Since I had to be at a 3 before we could get a room, she told us to hang out for a couple hours and see if I progressed. So for the next two hours, we took several walks around the floor, tried to watch an Office episode and dozed between my contractions. The nurse came back to check again, and I was really hopeful that we had made some progress, as my contractions were getting more intense and closer together. But alas, I was still stuck at a 1 and she informed us that she was going to call the Dr. to let her know what was going on, and that we would most likely be sent home until things progressed more. However, since she was slightly concerned about sending me home considering the intensity of my contractions, she decided to get a second opinion from another nurse and they ultimately decided to let us stay in triage until I made it to a 3. I’m so thankful they decided this, because shortly thereafter I threw up. Twice. I don’t really remember much of the next hour or so, just being super tired (it was around 4am by this time), and “slow dancing” with Loren to make it through the contractions. Nothing was really comfortable, and I wasn’t a huge fan of being touched (other than the “dance”). Finally around 5 am, the nurses passed me at a 3 and we were moved to a room. For the next hour or so, I was in and out of sleep between contractions before I dilated to a 4 and was ready for my epidural. Shortly after the epidural was started, things got a little more exciting. Between the epidural being started and me dilating from 4-7 super fast, the baby’s heart rate suddenly dropped from around 130 bpm to 60 bpm. The nurses and Dr. reacted quickly and calmly, hooking me up to oxygen and turning me from side to side to get the baby’s heart rate back up. At one point, one of the nurses noticed that Loren had stepped out of the way to give them space, and she told him to come stand at my head. He came and held my hand and stroked my hair and told me that it would be all right because God was in control. Even through the haze of it all I was completely aware of what was going on and knew that God was in complete control, but I couldn’t help but let several tears slide out. After what seemed like way too long, the baby’s heart picked back up and returned to stable and the room eventually cleared. Finally in less pain (blessed epidural!!!), I was able to sleep for a couple hours in between my blood pressure being taken every 15-30 minutes. Loren was also able to squeeze in a couple hours of sleep before I sent him to go get some breakfast. I told him he could bring the food up to the room because it wouldn’t bother me and when the nurse saw him eating next to me she was like: “You’re living dangerously!” But I assured her I didn’t mind because I really wasn’t hungry at this point. 😉
Around 11:30 am (Saturday), the nurse started getting things ready for delivery and had me do a few practice pushes. The Dr. came in around 12 pm, and the pushing started for real. In between pushes, our amazing Dr. kept us preoccupied and entertained asking us about our jobs and with stories about her trip to Germany, her collection of nutcrackers and flamingo lawn ornaments. Pretty soon, the Dr. and Loren said they could see the baby’s head and she had lots of dark hair! I was so surprised since I was convinced that she would be a cute little bald baby. Then finally, after about an hour of pushing, at 12:59 pm, our little Emberly Brynn made her entrance into the world. Overwhelmed with love and joy that our little Emberly was finally here, I let the tears roll even more freely than before as she was placed on my chest. I held her for a little bit before Loren cut the cord and she was measured and weighed, then Loren finally got to hold her. I’d been waiting a long time to see him hold his daughter and it was the sweetest moment. 🙂
We are so grateful for the beautiful and healthy daughter God has bestowed on us and are cherishing every moment we have with her.