Emerson turned 7 weeks old yesterday and I figured I better take a few minutes to write out her birth story. Part of me wishes I could go back and relive that sacred day over and over! But then also part of me is like, yeah not doing it like that ever again but thanks anyway. Weeks before Em was born, I was in the early stages of labor and having contractions everyday. This caused me to think she was definitely showing up early! Yeah, wrong. Our first false alarm was the day before Zach’s most important final. I had been having fairly consistent contractions and an excess of (sorry, TMI) cervical mucus which led me to believe my water had “torn” and was leaking. I called my OB and they told me to go ahead and go in. Once there, in the triage room, the nurse did some tests to see if anything really was of concern. Due to the results of the tests, she decided it best for me to hang out a bit longer and have the doctor come in and check me. The doctor told me I was the same progression as my check-up a few days prior (2 cm dilated and about 65% effaced) and that my water was still very much in tact. I was secretly bummed but also TOTALLY relieved because Zach absolutely had to take this particular final the next day.
Fast forward a week and a half later, my mom gets into town and we are ALL about inducing labor. We walked and walked and walked and tried a whole bunch of wives tales. Nothing. Then New Year’s Eve, around 9:00 pm I start having contractions. Then they become more consistent and painful so we start timing. Sure enough by 11:00 they were 5 minutes apart. We tried getting ahold of my OBGYN (you’re supposed to call before going to the hospital). No answer for an hour (!!! NOT COOL) so we just went ahead and went in. So we get to the triage room and (I’m really starting to not love this particular room) I go ahead and get dressed in the hospital gown and they hook me up to the monitors. Sure enough, I was not only having consistent contractions but I was dilated to a 3 and about 75% effaced. Whoo, progress! They then tell us to walk around the hospital (me. Walking. With contractions. Not a super fun thing) to see if I progress more. After about an hour and half of walking, my contractions had started getting closer together to being 2 minutes apart. I get checked again but hadn’t progressed really so they had to send us home. I was heartbroken!
Again, fast forward 4 days. I wake up around 6:30 am to some pretty gnarly contractions. I decided they were bad enough that I didn’t want to lounge around in our room so I head downstairs. They’re bad but not super consistent; of course, over the next couple of hours they progressively got worse and closer together. 9:00 am rolls around and contractions are 5 minutes apart so we decide to go ahead and call the OBGYN. Thank the good heavens they answered quicker than last time because we were walking into the hospital at 9:30 am. Back to the triage room and really hating that room more than ever. The doctor checks me after a while and I am 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced so they decide to keep us! Hallelujah, epidural I am COMING FOR YOU! By 11 am, we were moved to our delivery room and everything is so surreal. I get my IV and I’m in bed working my way through contractions with my hubbby and mama by my side. At noon, my life got so much better. The anesthesiologist comes in and we get that happy juice goin’! By 12:30, I was all hooked up and feeling FANTASTIC. Oh, epidural I love you so. I do think that part of the reason I so desperately wanted the epidural was because of the fear I had of labor but the rest of it was definitely how bad the contractions were. They radiated all through my back and into my abdomen. Ouchie. Anyway, from then they left us in our room to rest until 3:00 pm when they came back in to check me. Thanks to the epidural, I was able to take some naps (or tried to rather, I was so excited and nervous I couldn’t really sleep) and watch tv and eat my popsicles and drink my ginger ale. See, even as I type this I’m trying to be positive but let’s be real. I hadn’t eaten since the evening before because when I woke up to contractions the last thing I wanted to do was eat (which is stupid, I am force feeding myself next time) so I was hangry. Distracted by what was happening so not too grumpy, but hangry. At 3:00 Dr. MacLaurin came in with Sandy (one of my favorite nurses) and checked me. Well, I was 5 cm dilated but not progressing because the epidural seemed to have slowed things down a bit (not that I could be too mad because I loved my epidural so). At this point, they broke my water in hopes it would speed things up. Not that I could feel much of anything (again, epidural I love you) but I could feel a little bit of the gush and was later told by Zach that it was A LOT of fluid (again, TMI but hey if you’re reading this you probably already assumed there would be a couple “TMI” moments amirite??). They came back in at 4:00 with the oxytocin since my water breaking meant that I was at a higher risk for infection if we waited too long. Well, the combination did the trick. Cue contractions closer together and becoming more intense. By 6:30, I was dilated to 9! YES! That’s when the doctor told me we would be pushing within an hour or two so I was to try my hardest to sleep since I didn’t have much energy due to the lack of food I had consumed. This is when things start to go wrong.
7:00 pm. Nurses change. I was trying so hard to be happy-go-lucky and go with the flow that I sort of tuned out my nurse but she was not great. She was rude and treated us all like idiots. I continue contracting but at this point the epidural is starting to wear off a bit. This is good, this is what I wanted! I wanted to be able to feel a little bit so I wasn’t completely numb and “in the dark” when it came time to push. So I am laboring with this not-so-nice nurse when 8:00 pm rolls around and I’m told it could still be a while before I can push so I did the only pushing I could do… the blessed epidural button. PUSH DAT BUTTON! Okay, so my nurse decides then I need to be switching from side to side because sometimes your epidural can favor one side of your body but switching sides can help balance it out. This goes on until 9:30 and then it’s the real pushing time. I remember feeling super out of it when my nurse explains to me how to push and then has me get ready for the first one. With Zach on my left and my mom on my right, I get ready and bear down to push. So, I bear down and close my eyes and I pushed SO HARD that I only heard my nurse count to 3 before I black out. Yep, passed out. I remember coming to and seeing Zach’s and my mom’s faces looking so worried and mumbling something to them. “Whoa sorry I fell asleep a little bit” is what I said according to my team. My nurse thought I was kidding… Kay? Why would I joke about this? My mom and Zach were NOT happy but we decided to try pushing again. I get ready again and as I scrunched my face up and closed my eyes I could feel myself slipping again so I just stopped mid-push. So basically for the first little while of my TWO HOUR pushing period (yeah. And I did NOT mess around, I pushed hard) I tried to learn how to push my hardest while keeping my eyes open so I didn’t pass out. This led to a lot of broken blood vessels in my face and enough in both eyes to look like all the whites was just blood. Gross. The trick that I used to push, was the whole time the nurse counted to ten I looked at the number she was saying on the clock on the wall. It helped, but not too much. Not enough. 2 hours and all you could see was barely the tippy top of her head. They later told Zach her head was just too big for my pelvis and that it was like “fitting a square peg in a round hole”. So around 11:00 pm people start trickling in. At first, I noticed it was a nurse. Then a couple more. Then my doctor (who really only comes in towards the end of pushing when the baby in coming). So there are like 8 people in our room and Zach and my mom are no longer by my side. Where did they go? I am easily the most out of it I have ever been. I have NO idea where they went and when these nurses at my legs and sides and down by my feet showed up. The doctor then tells me that the baby’s heart rate is getting too high and things could go wrong really fast. Oh and NOT TO MENTION, you have an infection in your uterus from trying to push her out so hard and for having my water broken too long since earlier that day. Then, she tells me we need to go ahead and have the C-section. At this point, I didn’t even know where I was. You want to cut open my abdomen and pull this baby out? Cool. I don’t even care, I just want her out and I want her safe. So it takes about 30 minutes to get everyone prepped and me prepped. Also, funny side note: I had to sign some consent forms. While I labored, yeah my blessed epidural was pretty much completely gone at this point so I was feeling everything, and was in pain, pretty sure that “signature” was a squiggle. Plus, her head was low enough that every contraction I NEEDED to push but couldn’t or else it would cause more distress. It was so hard.
At this point, everything is blurry. I remember them putting on my little blue scrub cap and wheeling me out of the room. I remember going through the double doors that say “Authorized Personnel Only Beyond This Point” and being wheeled into another room. The lights were bright in there. I remember them transferring me to a different bed or table, I don’t really know. Then, the anesthesiologist told me the spinal block would kick in fast. A very sweet, very petite nurse helped me sit up and let me hang over her while I got the spinal block. Then nothing. Black. No idea how long it was or what happened from there but I woke up on my back with my arms stretched out beside me and looking at a blue curtain with more bright lights blinding me. Zach was there, on my right. The first thing I noticed, was that I couldn’t breathe. It was literally my worst nightmare playing out in real life but I couldn’t speak to tell anyone that I was unable to breathe. I must’ve looked extremely panicked (hm I don’t know, maybe because I WAS) because then the most wonderful nurse anesthetist in the entire world, who was sitting at my head, said to me, “I know it’s scary and it feels like you cannot breathe but you are breathing. You are doing great. Keep breathing even if it feels like you aren’t. Focus on the air in your nostrils.” Which, the air flowing in and out of my nostrils were the only thing I could feel. I still couldn’t find my voice so I just looked up at her, probably with tears in my eyes, and kept “breathing” while she stroked my hair. How did she know I loved having my hair played with/stroked?? Angel. Nurse. Seriously, she was an earthly angel for me. I just remember hearing a baby cry and in that moment (1:06 am), finding my voice. I don’t remember what I said but the next thing I do remember is them putting this wiggly, pink (wrinkly) thing on my chest. Face down. Like, why?? I couldn’t hardly move my arms and you put my baby on me, face down so she can suffocate??? (at least that is what I was thinking) So I asked Zach if he could just hold her next to me for fear I would drop her or she wouldn’t be able to breathe. I was so tired. So, so tired. The most tired I have ever been. But she captivated me! I held her little hand and looked at her until they whisked her away. She was completely healthy right away which was such a blessing after all they said could happen, especially with my infection. After she left, I felt the tugging and pressure of being put back together. Weird to think about. Anyway, then they were done and cleaned everything up. They transferred me back to the other bed and wheeled me to a recovery room.
This is where the story should pretty much be calming down, right? Yeah, well apparently our story was supposed to be spiced up a bit because while in the recovery room I tried to sleep. How dare I?! The spinal block must’ve been a bit too high because every time I would close my eyes to sleep, my breathing would slow so much that the alarms on my monitors would go off and someone would have to wake me up. I was SO TIRED, you guys, so tired that my eyelids were the heaviest I had ever experienced. If I tried to open my eyes, since ya know I couldn’t sleep for fear of DYING, to wake myself up I would get sick. I only threw up once, which I am pretty proud of. So I basically (tried to) forced myself to stay awake for the next 5 hours with my eyes closed… Being really tired, it didn’t work too well. So I would hear “KENZIE!! WAKE UP!” every 10 minutes or so for a few hours. The hardest part of all this was not being with my baby. All I wanted to do was hold her and look at her but I couldn’t. Zach took pictures for me but with the nauseating feeling I got when I opened my eyes, it wasn’t the best idea for me to look for too long. Luckily, Zach and my mom got to see her and hold her while I was bedridden during that time. That made me feel better. Around 6:00 am, we were told by the not-so-great nurse that I would get to stop by the nursery window to peek in at my baby on the way to my room! Yay! But she had to go do something and didn’t get back until 6:30 am which was 30 minutes before the shift change when she told me it would “take too long to take you by to see your baby” and that she would get off late. Cool. Okay. I was heartbroken but too tired to fight her on it (too much, I fought a tiny bit). Side note: Zach and my mom DID NOT like this lady. My mom was pissed she didn’t take me by the nursery and I’m grateful she was because I couldn’t be. You da best mama. So we get to our room around 6:40 (she totally could’ve taken me by the nursery, WHATEVER!) and I try my best to sleep. And I sleep okay for a few hours but was so anxious to get to meet my sweet Em that it was pretty crappy sleeping. Then the blessed hour of noon rolls around and it’s time to take me to the nursery. Getting out of bed and into that wheelchair was the pits. But it was worth it. Zach wheeled me into the nursery and I see her. My beautiful baby. Ah! She was sleeping and so beautiful. But it was my time to hold that girl. So the nurse got her out for me and I can’t stop staring at her! They let me do skin to skin and that’s when I start crying and can’t stop. All was right in the world. I had my baby in my arms. That’s the moment I could replay over and over and over a million times. I also got to feed her her little bottle of donated breast milk (thank you to all the amazing women that are able to do that) and snuggle with her for a bit. After that, we decided since it had been over 30 hours since I had last eaten that I should eat. So we left and met my mama (who brought us Chik-fil-A) in our room to eat lunch. Emerson was supposed to stay in the nursery for 24 hours after being born so they could monitor her due to the infection but she was able to join us just a few short hours after that and I was elated. The rest of the stay was me getting back to normal (peeing wise, interesting that’s not something I knew with a c-section/catheter stuff and also those danged to heck uterus massages: I loathe you) and getting to hold our baby and being with each other. Now, she’s 7 weeks old and the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. We love her so much. The end. (I didn’t know how else to end it HAHA and now pictures)
^^ my blue popsicles. Heaven sent!
^^ I just love Z in this picture. He is the best and most caring husband and father. We are so lucky he is ours.
^^ SO grateful for Zach and that he used our camera to take the photos of what I could not see.
^^ Emerson Lyn White // 8 lbs // 20 in. // born at 1:06 // Be still my heart!!!
^^ So funny, she does this with her legs when we change her. She bicycles them now. Work it girl!
^^ Getting panicked and telling Zach to take her from me.
^^ I love that Zach is looking at me in this photo. He is the best. Love you, honey!!
^^ Okay I am embarrassed by this photo BUT it just shows you how drugged and tired I was!
^^ All hooked up and so peaceful and sweet.