September 17, 2014

Emma's Birth Story

Well, I suppose since she's almost ten weeks old I should write the story of my second child's birth. Sorry, sweet Emma you've already got second child syndrome.

I was worried that, among other things, Emma wouldn't have a birth story. She would have a birth, of course, but I worried about the story part. Evie's birth was dramatic, unexpected and in the end a little bit traumatizing. It was still a story though and completely entirely hers. As it turns out I needn't have worried as every baby's birth is a story, and more importantly just the beginning of a life long tale.

I was was scheduled for a repeat c-section on July 10th, 2014 at 12:00pm. The days leading up to the birth were busy as we unpacked our house, settled Evie in her new big girl room and built a fence. It was hectic and messy, but in the quiet times I'd sit and anxiously wonder about the child who was about to alter the course of our family forever. He or she would make me a mother again and Chris a father. A big sister would be born the moment our new baby entered the world and her life would be forever changed.

It was these thoughts I took to bed with me on July 9th. Luckily my OB prescribed me Lunesta to deal with severe restless legs so I was able to fall asleep. I woke up around 3:30 am and ate a chicken biscuit and chugged a huge glass of water since I knew it would be at least twelve more hours until I was able to eat or drink again. Thankfully, the Lunesta helped me fall back asleep and stay that way until my alarm went off. As soon as I woke up contractions started coming very fast. I knew enough of managing labor pain to be able to handle the contractions while Chris and I got showered and finished packing for the three of us. We loaded up the car and hit the road for Chris' parents house. Leaving Evie there with them was really hard for me. I knew her world was about to be rocked.

We arrived at Methodist Germantown a few minutes early and got checked in. Labor and Delivery were very busy that day and I there were at least two other women there waiting for either triage or an induction. I was worried that we would be sent home since I had no experience with a scheduled c-section or induction. Apparently though when an OR is reserved there's no turning back. I was quickly taken to triage and once I was changed into my gown the nurses got me hooked up to the contraction monitors (aka torture belts), inserted my IV and started fluids and a bag of antibiotics. The baby was super low though so I kept having to get out of bed to pee and at one point I thought my water broke. Eventually the nurses let me ditch the monitors because I could only manage the contractions sitting straight up and they would not stay on in that position.

My nurse asked if I had any special requests for the birth. I told her that the only thing I wanted was for the baby to not be taken from me unless it was an emergent situation. Then the anesthesiologist and the CRNA came and met with me. After they explained the spinal block to me I asked for something for anxiety as soon as the baby was born. I think at that point all of the stress from building our house, moving three times, trying to get the house unpacked and worrying about Evie was too much for me. I was also super stressed about the c-section. After 46 hours of labor with Evie I didn't have time to process what was happening before the surgery happened. It was just we need to get this baby out, immediately, and there was no time for anything else.

Dr. Martin came in and spoke briefly with Chris and me and after that things started to move quickly. Like last time, Chris was given his surgical get up and I was given a hair net. I was wheeled into the OR which was super bright white and very cold. At this point I started freaking out a little. Chris wasn't allowed into the OR until after they started surgery which meant the spinal and everything leading up to the incision had to be done without his support. Luckily my nurse was amazing. She and the anesthesiologist held my hand the entire time the CRNA inserted the spinal. After the spinal block was given they laid me down and the CRNA stayed right by my head until Chris came. He said he was my coach and that we would get through this together. True to his word he talked me through every aspect of the surgery, even after Chris got to come in the OR. He was a Godsend.

It felt like an eternity, but it wasn't long until Dr. Martin was telling me the baby's head was out. Seconds later I heard my baby scream and felt the world split. I immediately began to cry happy tears as the screams meant two things to me: healthy baby and no NICU. As Dr. Martin held the baby up Chris stood up to see if we had a boy or a girl. When he said "IT'S A GIRL!"  I started to cry even more. It was such a joyous moment. I'll never forget it.

After a few minutes a nurse brought my beautiful swaddled baby girl for me to meet. She held her down for me to kiss and then handed her to Chris. At this point I was given two different medications to relieve my anxiety. Dr. Martin came to my head and told me my baby was beautiful and congratulations. I spent the rest of the time in the OR staring dreamily at my new baby girl.

After the surgery was complete I was wheeled into recovery. After a brief discussion we decided our new little one would be named Emma Ann, and Chris went to the waiting room to tell our parents we had another beautiful baby girl. It was at this point we learned that in the past thirty minutes the staff delivered SEVEN (SEVEN!!!) babies. There were five vaginal deliveries and one other c-section. Normally you stay in recovery for an hour after a c-section and are allowed no visitors. Due to the high volume of babies though it would be hours before we were given a room in post-partum. After about thirty minutes the nurses said Chris could go get Evie to see me and meet her baby sister.

Evie was a little nervous and mostly wanted to be held by her Daddy. She did climb in bed with me briefly so I could hug my firstborn and she could get a look at her new little sister. Once Evie had some time with us and Emma our parents and my brother came in to meet their new granddaughter/niece. It was clear they were just as in love with Emma as they were with Evie.

The rest of that day is mostly a haze. The drugs are good, but they also make you very sleepy! I sent Chris home that night to get a good night's sleep and after kissing her nose about a million times I drifted to sleep with my sweet Emma's face in my mind.

That my friends is the story of how my Emma came into the world. Less dramatic than her sister, but just as life changing.
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