Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Emersen's Birth Story, Part II

Everyone else was sound asleep in the house, as I talked with my mom and paced our kitchen. I went through a couple contractions, and told her how my back really hurt. I asked if I should I take a bath? (It's a common trend in the birth stories...)  I asked if she thought I was having real contractions? And then my teeth started chattering. She said I should probably go to the hospital - and I told her I didn't even know where to find the hospital entrance. My back was really hurting. She told me to go wake up Steve and that she and my dad would be over in a couple minutes.

I went upstairs to the pirates room and woke up Steve. I asked him to help me pack a bag, because my back really hurt and I figured I was in labor. We gathered clothes in one minute segments, and then I'd brace myself against our bathroom countertop for the contraction. I tried to breathe my way through them, but my back was really hurting.

My parents arrived miraculously fast. I had my mom put the last of my clothes into my bag and we all went downstairs. But as soon as I got downstairs, everything became terribly real. I told my parents and Steve that I didn't want to go. My mom gave Steve a look and said, "You really need to get to the hospital." I told everyone I wanted to take a warm bath. I said my back hurt, and the last place I wanted to be was in the car. I started crying. I looked at my dad and said I hated hospitals and that I didn't want to go. He carried my bag and rubbed my back as I shivered and chattered my way out to the garage.

We said goodbye and Steve drove up to the top of our street. I was going through a contraction. We hit a bump and I almost died. I begged Steve to "please, please, please take the bumps easy!" And I meant it. Every little bump hurt. But then the contraction passed and we started joking. I told Steve that I'd probably go crazy if the hospital turned me away. And then I told him that was going to ask for an epidural upon arrival. And then I asked if he'd "please drive faster" because it was three in the morning and the streets were silent... and I was bound to have a baby. I had one more contraction as we drove. And then one more contraction as we were walking from our car towards the front entrance. During that one I grabbed Steve's hand and tried to use it as support. It didn't work that well, and I ended up just hunching over. Steve must have felt a little nervous at that point, because he gently told me we needed to get inside. I said something sweet like "IN YOUR DREAMS" or "IT CAN WAIT because I'm contracting and I'M NOT MOVING FROM THIS SPOT." (From this point on, I was slightly sassy during each contraction.)

As we walked in the hospital doors the guard looked up from whatever he was watching. He smiled and said "Go right on through. Elevator, third floor." (I was so grateful.) In the elevator Steve pushed the number three and I felt another contraction coming on. I looked around frantically for a place to brace myself and settled on a bar they had on the wall. I breathed my way through it. The doors opened. Steve stood there and waited for my contraction to finish. The doors tried to close - and hit him in the back. (Secretly, I found it slightly humorous, but I wasn't in any position to laugh.) So instead I laughed as we walked up to the Labor and Delivery desk. I happily announced I was there to have a baby. (In between contractions I was in a great mood.) The nurse at the front desk started asking me questions. We got through one or two of them before I had to brace myself against the countertop. It was a really strong contraction, and I zoned out completely. (I laid my head down on their front desk countertop and started almost humming... I was all upon her personal space - it was classy.) But once the contraction finished I looked the nurse in the eyes and asked for some water. My mouth was so incredibly dry...

I don't remember exactly what she said. It was something like "Yes dear, but first lets put you in this room right here." (And that was the end of registration.)

In the room they gave me a hospital gown. (I despise those gowns.) I told Steve I hated this part. I told Steve I was cold, and that I didn't want to change into their gown. I had another contraction and braced myself against the countertop by the sink. Once it finished, I realized I hadn't even bothered looking at my hair since I'd first woken up. I went into the bathroom, looked at my hair (it was decent, all things considered) and had another contraction. I braced myself against the countertop. I walked out, changed into the blasted gown and had another contraction. I braced myself against the hospital bed.

At this point the nurse walked in. I asked for an epidural. She said she'd need to start an I.V. and check me to see how far I was dilated. I gave her sass about it being cold, and how I hated being checked. (I think the contractions mixed with my lack of sleep and low tolerance for this type of pain created a personality I don't normally have...) I asked for a bag just in case I threw up. She handed me a nice purple one. I sat down on the bed and had another contraction. She checked me and I was dilated to five centimeters. (It was 3:14 in the morning.)

After I sat down the contractions got really strong. I closed my eyes, and didn't even bother to open them again. After the first sitting down contraction, I asked when I could get an epidural. The nurse (who was trying to put in the I.V.) said she'd already requested the anesthesiologist. I asked if she'd actually requested the epidural, or if she was just telling me that. (So sassy!) She sounded slightly miffed when she told me she'd actually requested it, but I wasn't bothered because I had another contraction coming. A really strong contraction. And then my water broke. I cried "my water broke!" and braced myself against the bed rail. I had another contraction, right on top of the one that broke my water, and then really cried "I can't do this! I can't do this!" But at the same exact moment, I remember thinking at least three different things all at once.

The first? I realized I probably shouldn't be saying I can't do this because there really was no other option. And then I remember thinking I should probably breathe through it, because that's what my mother would have done... and her mother... and her mother's mother. But then I remember thinking that all I really wanted to do was hit something. (Which is humorous. I don't hit things... ever.) I raised my arm to hit the bedrail, but stopped because I realized that it would hurt my hand. And I didn't want any more pain. ...all within ten seconds.

But after that I went entirely into my own world. I don't know what happened in the room around me. I didn't even hear anything. I had to ask Steve for the details, because right after that last contraction, I unmistakably needed to push. I had no other choice. I announced my body's plans to Steve and the nurse (they were the only two in the room.) And then let out a cry - it surprised me, because it didn't sound like me.  Steve said at this point, the nurse gave up on the I.V. and rushed over to the other side of my bed. I pushed once and I felt our baby's head release. The nurse got on the intercom and called for the doctor. I pushed again, and felt the rest of our baby land on the bed.

Steve said there was a flurry of activity in the room. The doctor came running in, as well as a couple additional nurses. I never even opened my eyes. I finally let go of that bed rail, and laid my head on the bed. I have never felt so relieved. All that pain was gone instantaneously. The doctor put the baby on my chest. I opened my eyes. She was gorgeous and wailing... and perfect.

Steve and I parked our car in the hospital parking lot at 3:06 in the morning. I delivered our baby Emersen at 3:22.

After everything was finished, I couldn't help but laugh. Things like this happen in birth stories... But I never thought it'd be one of my birth stories!

We left the hospital at five o' clock that evening - the same day Emersen was born. We drove to my parents' house where our pirates were waiting excitedly. They couldn't believe she was here! The last thing they remembered was Steve and I going to a movie!  I loved introducing Emersen at home... without wires or hospital gowns or blood pressure cuffs, and the pirates couldn't get over her tiny fingers and toes... or her alienesque umbilical cord. It was perfect.


  1. Christine this is beautiful! You are a champion and my hero. I'm so proud of you and Emersen!

  2. That was one of the most awesome stories ever! And you did it natural! You are a granola now! LOL!

  3. I am crying right now! You and your mothers before you amaze me. So beautiful :) :) xoxoxo

  4. I love reading birth stories. Each one is so beautiful and they always make me cry. I had Miles naturally and Wes naturally, (but with the aid of pitocin since he was 9 days late) I am so happy for you and that you got to have a natural delivery - there's nothing quite like it. And nothing beats a new baby fresh from heaven! I can't believe you got to come home the very same day!? How did you get them to let you do that?

  5. You are my favorite and the best! So sad I missed you last week, but we'll catch up in the spring. (Or Feb!)