Monday, September 03, 2012

Emelia Grace

I should have written this post in May, I thought about it a lot, but just couldn't bring my thoughts together enough to do it.

Emelia Grace arrived safely on May 14th at 7:14pm. Apparently she likes 14's. Before any further story, here is our beautiful girl shortly after arrival.
She weighed an amazing 8 pounds 7 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. Our BIG girl! As they were laying her on my chest the Dr. literally said "That's a big baby!" And yes, I got to hold her right away. We had a successful VBAC. I'm still crying as I write this 3 1/2 months later. God was SO gracious through the whole delivery, and I'm still somewhat in awe of having my precious baby here so safely. Her birth was everything and nothing like I imagined.
I want to share her birth story because already some of the details are getting fuzzy in my mind. I hesitated to do so because there are several parts that could be judged by others and I could be made to feel guilty about. But I don't. Andrew and I both made the decisions and we are so glad we did. God took care of us in big ways.

We had been seeing my OB every week since like 30 weeks or so due to it being a high-risk pregnancy. As the weeks went by we all would laugh at every appointment that I was still pregnant. As the weeks went by I got REALLY uncomfortable too. Now I understand those last few weeks of pregnancy, I had never experienced them with Levi. Now I get why everyone is usually SO ready for their baby to make an appearance. I'm still so thankful for them, especially as I look at my big healthy baby. She needed those weeks.

At our 38 week checkup my Dr. did an ultrasound as was normal and this time measured baby to see where she was at. Now, I know these are always just estimates, but she was measuring at 8 pounds. Andrew was over 9 pounds at birth and I was close to 8 pounds, so we knew a big baby was a possibility. My Dr. asked us how long we wanted to let me stay pregnant. She was concerned if Baby got much bigger I could have a hard time delivering her due to the complications with my uterus that I have. Andrew and I had already been talking and praying and we had decided the week after her due date we were okay with inducing. My Dr. suggested the Monday before my due date, at 39 weeks 2 days. I just sat there and looked at her and then at Andrew and I literally said "You two need to make this decision, I can't. I'm not impartial, I'm too uncomfortable to be impartial." So for basic safety reasons and the unknown of what my uterus would do, they decided May 14th was the day. I was excited to know the end was in sight, but didn't really want to share that we were going to be induced, many people have WAY too strong of opinions and I wasn't emotionally able to handle that.

So we told our parents and a few close friends and spent the week preparing for baby and enjoying Andrew. I was hopeful that I'd go into labor on my own, and while I had some contractions, nothing worth writing home about.

We dropped Levi off on Monday morning with our dear friends and pastor and headed to the hospital. My parents would be coming down around lunchtime to pick Levi up and watch him while we were in the hospital and take care of the dog too. :)
We checked into the hospital around 7am and by 8am I was in a bed with an IV starting a pitocin drip and the Dr. had arrived. I was actually having several contractions already so they were encouraged by that. Makes it easier I guess. The Dr. checked me but I wasn't any more dialated than the week before so it made it difficult for her but she was able to break my water. Weirdest sensation ever...Dr. Shawn jokingly asked me what time I wanted to have baby. I told her Levi had been born at 2:06pm so lets shoot for that. Ha...I wish.
By 9 or so Andrew and I started walking the halls. I wanted to help this baby out as much as possible. We did this several times and it was always my goal to make one "lap" for each contraction. But they started coming slightly faster so I didn't make a full lap. :) We would also come back to let baby get monitored for a while and Andrew would watch "American Pickers" This is my big memory of that. I also ate orange jello at some point. I was starving again but my nurse suggested not eating a ton just in case I had an epidural or c-section. Fine, I'll be hungry.
I think by noon I was done walking pretty much. Baby was doing a little bit of decelling when I would have contractions, but they were always during the contraction which is acceptable and somewhat normal I guess. (We learned after she arrived that she had a fairly long cord which would explain this, as she would probably press on it a little during the contractions.)
I do remember Andrew eating his lunch that he had packed, and my nurse teasing him about being thrifty. My nurse by the way, Michelle, loved her to pieces. She was exactly who I needed to have that day. God knew.
Right after lunch things started getting pretty intense. I kind of lost track of time at that point. I do know I spent some time on the birthing chair and the ball. At which point it became harder and harder to keep track of Baby's heartrate so the nurse did put an internal monitor in on her head. So bizarre that the nurse touched my baby many hours before she was born. I think it's kind of cool actually. This monitor on her head allowed me to be able to switch positions without worrying about keeping her heartrate on the monitor. Very nice. The monitor was necessary due to us attempting the VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean). A necessity that I was willing to have to be able to try. I do know that at some point the nurse went and got a CD player and Andrew put on my new Casting Crowns CD and some Shane & Shane during the really rough parts. I know this helped calm me but it was getting pretty hairy. I was losing the ability to control my breathing and my anxiety. I would literally almost pass out/fall asleep between the contractions and then wake up for the incredible intense pain and just try to breath. I remember thinking it would have been a joke to have timed when they started at home because although they were over a minute long from start to finish I was only aware of the crazy intense part.
By 2:30 I was in agony, I couldn't labor in the tub due to it being a VBAC and Baby needing constant monitoring. I was literally sobbing when I said to Andrew "I think I need the epidural" I was heartbroken, which is SO ridiculous to me now. Michelle had checked me and I was only at a 6, so it could be a while still.
I was so discouraged. The anesthesiologist had already been in that morning basically trying to convince me to go ahead with the epidural right away. His reasoning being that because I was attempting a VBAC if something happened and I needed a c-section RIGHT away, it would save time and I would avoid being put under general anesthesia if necessary. I wanted to wait...I was annoyed at him actually. Bad attitude on my part.
Anyway, you have to have a certain amount of fluids before you have the epidural so even though I made the decision sometime close to 3, I would have to wait a half hour or so. Ugh. I remember just trying to get through every contraction and not die in my opinion.
The anesthesiologist arrived sooner than I expected and did the epidural. It wasn't immediate relief, and I know I felt like punching him when he was taping the tube to my back and patting it on, or what actually felt like was beating my back. I was in such pain and just wanted to crab at him.

To explain a little bit of the thinking at this point, we knew it could be a while since I was only at a 6, and frankly, I knew I was losing control. I wanted to be alert and aware for our baby's birth and knew I wouldn't be at this point the way things were going. I didn't want to just "make it through", I wanted to be there totally as much as I could. Maybe this was due to not having any choice in Levi's c-section, I'm not sure. I was also getting really impatient and short with my husband due to the pain and I didn't want to be acting like that. With all of this in consideration, we decided the epidural was the best way to go. Andrew was SO amazing and supportive. Even when I was crying in sadness, he was supporting me and encouraging me. I also had several amazing friends who I texted afterwards, who were so encouraging. God totally supported me through them.

After the epidural went into affect, I was definitely not in as much pain. But here is where it gets interesting. While I wasn't in intense pain, I still was feeling everything. Which is the goal I guess, but the contractions were still very intense. Not as painful, but I definitely still felt them and couldn't really even sleep and they did still hurt some. From what I've gathered this isn't quite the norm, which I'm thankful for now. I've always processed anesthesia fairly quickly, when at the dentist they have to give me novacaine in abundance, and when I had Levi my spinal wore off pretty quickly. The nurses were very amazed by how quickly I could move my legs.
So while I'm thankful I got the epidural, it wasn't totally effective for me either. Once I had the epidural though, I remember just being excited to meet this girl.

We had a nursing change at 3:30 and frankly, my new nurse, didn't like her much at all. She was a little older, and just annoyed the heck out of me. It's all a bit of a blur now, but I remember her checking me and everything and I just didn't like the way she did things. I do remember that I was getting there. I was getting the "transitional shakes" that I didn't know what they were at the time, but I was definitely shaking. :) Also, the pain was getting worse. My left hip especially for whatever reason was just killing me. I remember thinking "So epidural?" Because I wasn't sure why I was feeling so gross. Finally around 6 or so, I basically told the nurse "I NEED TO PUSH!" Because I was so frustrated it didn't feel like she was listening to me. She checked me again and said something like "well you still have a rim left so let's wait" and I wanted to literally punch her. PRAISE THE LORD my awesome OB, Shawn, walked in at that moment and said "If she wants to push, let her push". I also remember she brought her knitting basket in with her, no idea how much knitting she actually did.

They set me up and I started pushing. It was agony. I couldn't get my left leg comfortable. Somewhere in this time frame Shawn decided baby must be pushing on my sciatic nerve or something, but everytime I would have a contraction or push, it felt like a sword piercing all down my leg. Not fun. I did learn the pushing pretty quickly, wasn't too complicated. Not quite what I had pictured, but it made sense in the moment how to do it. Andrew had a hold of the leg that wasn't hurting, and the nurse the painful one. At one point I tried to get them to switch because he was being so gentle and it didn't feel like she was. I just wanted it to end. I wanted to be strong and push this baby girl out. NOW. I think somewhere near 7 I asked Shawn how much longer I was going to be pushing. She guessed about a half hour or so. I was losing all control. I couldn't make myself breath right, I was still pushing amazing I guess, but I couldn't get my mind to stay where it needed to due to the awful and severe pain in my leg. I looked at Andrew and Shawn and just said "You gotta get her out" Shawn said she could use forceps but there were risks. I asked her to state them and she did, but she also told me she was very good with forceps and was very careful. The nurse, a new one, Praise the Lord! There had been a shift change at 7 and I recognized this nurse from our childbirth classes with Levi, and my bed rest at this hospital before being transferred. And I liked her! Anyway, she backed up what Shawn was saying and said "Yes, she's very good". I asked Andrew and he said it was my call. So I looked at Shawn and told her let's get her out. She set up fast and explained that I still needed to be the power, she was just going to guide her head a little bit. So I pushed like a mad woman, because I was. :) I knew the whole time that I had been pushing great, they told me I was, and not just as a compliment either. But man did I push. And Shawn guided her head and pulled a bit I'm sure. And wow, did it hurt. I just know I had my eyes closed, I was screaming like crazy, and I thought I was literally being ripped in two. I've never known that kind of pain. Thankfully, you do forget it. Thankfully. I also remember my husband's reaction. He was SO excited and really was freaking out. I just remember him saying "Oh man, here she comes." A LOT. And loudly. It was honestly the best moment because he was so excited and we hadn't had that intense craziness with Levi's birth. So, I was being ripped in two, Andrew was freaking out, and I thought I was going to die, or at least need a bajillion stitches. And then,

She was there. She was crying. And they plopped her right down on my chest. I was in awe. I thought I should cry but I just couldn't. I couldn't believe she was there. I heard Shawn instructing Andrew how to cut the cord and I did cry then. Because we got to do all the things we didn't get to do with Levi. I pushed baby girl out, and got to hold her right away, not hours later. Andrew got to cut her cord. Just awesome.

I'm a little fuzzy on delivering her placenta, but I think they helped a little with that? Not sure.
Shawn started doing something that hurt and I was like "What the heck?!" and she explained I hadn't torn externally at all, just a little internally. I was shocked, I thought for sure I was ripped like crazy for the way it hurt and she said "nope, just a few stitches internally. You did really good." Wow, amazing. It still hurt though. She did remark that my epidural wasn't such a big help. Well that's good to know that wasn't normal pain for an epidural.

At some point Shawn said good-bye and I was just in shock that it was done. The nurse came over after a long while and asked if I wanted her to go clean baby up or if I wanted to keep holding her. She ASKED. Didn't pull baby girl away or anything. Awesome. I said "sure, you can take her." because I knew she'd be right over there in the room and I'd get to see her. I was so joyful. This deep seated peace stole over my heart. Andrew took pictures like crazy, he's good at that.

The moment they laid Baby Girl on my chest I said "Hi baby". I had to restrain myself from using a name because I almost immediately felt a name for her. But there's Daddy to consider. :) We had gone through a name list while I was in labor, but like with Levi, I felt like this should be her name when I saw her. Guess what? He agreed. :) We're a good team like that.
Emelia. I thought for sure her middle name would be Jean, after my mom, his dad, and lots of other family heritage there. But when I suggested, Jean, Grace, or Ruth (My dear Grandma's middle name) he really thought it should be Grace. I am so thankful he decided. I love it, and I love that he chose her middle name so fittingly. She is our Grace Child.

There's lots of other fun stuff like how I tried to pass out the first time they got me up, how I got to eat right away (So much better than a c-section!) and all sorts of stuff, but the important thing, was that she was there.

Emelia Grace. My redemption baby. Most women call a baby they have after they lose a baby or more their rainbow baby. Like the promise after the storm. Which is fitting, but I prefer a term I learned from another blog Momma who called that baby her "Redemption Baby" Because God DOES redeem our tears and our pain. After Levi's crazy traumatic preemie c-section birth, after losing 3 babies in 2 miscarriages in between, Emelia Grace is most definitely my redemption baby.

No, everything wasn't "all-natural" and perfect. But she was there. Alive and full-term. That's so much to be thankful for. Actually, it's everything. I wouldn't have it any other way. And besides, this was my first "true" labor. It's all a learning process right? :) I know there will be those who scorn me for being induced, but the fact is, I don't answer to you. But to answer the thought, Emelia WAS a bigger baby, and we honestly didn't know what my uterus could handle. God had already done HUGE unthinkable miracles just getting her to full-term. No Dr. could explain it. They didn't need to, God is bigger. So we made the decisions we made, knowing that my bi-cornate/septate uterus needed all the help we could give it. My ultimate goal was to avoid a c-section. We did that. With whatever it took. So to God goes the glory. Will we do things different next time? Maybe, maybe not. Any baby God gives will be a blessing, however they enter this world.

Welcome to the world Emelia Grace! You are our precious Blessing!

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Thank you for sharing this story! My first baby was a c-section baby as well-after 20 hours later and 9cm dialation! (his head was turned() But my second baby was a vbac and i was so happy to have him naturally!