This is the story of the 11 hours and 17 minutes before Emmett came to be. That’s right – it only took 12 hours from start to finish, which is apparently a pretty speedy labor/delivery considering he is my first baby.
It all started at 12:30 a.m. on January 16. James and I had been watching our usual episode of Nip/Tuck on DVD in bed before we fell asleep when I started to notice what felt like more substantial Braxton-Hicks contractions. This continued for another hour and a half before I could fall back asleep. I think we were both excited at the possibility of real labor contractions but were still skeptical about it being the real thing.
When I woke up at 3:30 to a slightly more intense contraction, I think we both knew we’d get to meet Baby Lump later that day. We decided to get out of bed to see if a change of position would ease the pain a little bit, which was still only causing me minor discomfort. We hung out in the living room and watched some TV as I bounced on the “birthing ball ” (AKA a fitness ball). This was definitely an improvement. In fact, I felt so much better that we even questioned whether the whole thing was a false alarm, which brought light to another dilemma …
We were already scheduled to be at the hospital at 8:30 that morning for Baby Lump’s non-stress test. Now the question was if we should call our friend Michelle (who had so graciously offered to drive us to the hospital when the time came) so we could bring our hospital bags just in case my labor progressed and they asked me to stay at the hospital. Surely, a T ride to our doctor appointment while I was having contractions would have been less than ideal, especially if we made it to the hospital and ended up needing our bags. (Ironically, we never even opened our bags until we made it to the post-partum room after delivery. So much for all those comforting supplies I’d packed for labor like Jolly Ranchers, massage lotion and iPod speakers to make for a soothing labor atmosphere.)
Anyway, it was around 5 a.m., and we decided the best course of action was to call the hospital and ask the advice of the doctor on call. Lucky for us, our doctor was the doctor on call that night! The next several minutes were kind of a funny sequence of events, and they went something like this:
5:30 a.m. - I call Dr. Stagg, who says it sounds like I am in early labor and confirms that, yes, we should probably bring our bags to our 8:30 appointment, just in case.
5:35 a.m. - I call Michelle, who sleepily yet excitedly agrees to pick us up at 7:45 for our 8:30 appointment.
5:40 a.m. – I hang up the phone with Michelle, get out of bed to use the bathroom, and (ick!) my water breaks! After several “ew” noises, I announce to James I’m going to take a shower and that he should call the dr. again.
5:41 a.m. – James calls back Dr. Stagg, who advises us to head on over to the hospital!
5:43 a.m. – James calls back Michelle and asks her to pick us up sooner rather than later.
6:30 a.m. – Michelle picks us up and we head to the hospital with our bags, very excited and pretty calm.
As soon as James and I arrived at the hospital, it was as if someone immediately flipped a switch to the intensity of my contractions. I remember being in the elevator on the way up to the delivery floor and grabbing onto James so I wouldn’t cause a small scene. We arrived at the triage room at around 7 a.m., and a midwife determined I was already 5-6 cm dilated! This time, they knew I was definitely supposed to be there.
The nurses seemed pretty excited at my desire to attempt natural childbirth, and we were admitted to the only room on the floor with a working jacuzzi tub, plus an amazing view of the Charles River. The contractions started coming with little downtime in between, and the only way I was comfortable was to stand and grip (poor) James’ upper arms. I had absolutely no desire to be in a sitting or lying down position, so when my nurse, Stephanie, first suggested I try sitting in the tub, I rejected it immediately. I’m glad she and James were finally able to convince me, because I don’t think I would’ve made it through the whole labor/delivery naturally if I hadn’t been in that tub for most of the active part of labor. (Keep that in mind if you ever decide on a natural childbirth.) The buoyancy and warmth of the water worked wonders in relieving the pressure from the contractions.
Yes, there were a couple of times when I begged James to let me give up and take the epidural, but he and Stephanie did a great job at assuring me I could do it. It was also a big help that at 10 a.m. when the doctor checked my progress, I was already 8 cm dilated. It only took another hour in the tub before I was fully dilated (10 cm) and ready to push at 11 a.m. Forty-seven minutes of pushing later, Baby Lump was born and James announced that we had a little boy on our hands!
It was absolutely amazing. I’ll never forget the moment the doctor placed his slimy little purple alien body on my chest – he was beautiful (and even moreso after they wiped him off and he turned pink). I was expecting the doctors to sweep him away shortly afterward to count his fingers and toes, but they let me keep him there for as long as I wanted. It was all pretty surreal. I got exactly the childbirth I wanted (natural and no induction!), I was officially a mom, James and I were officially parents, and best of all, Emmett was perfectly healthy.
Of course, a lot has happened since Emmett was born (it’s just that a certain little man has been keeping me pretty occupied and preventing me from blogging as frequently as I’d like). Here’s a quick summary:
- We chose the name Emmett while we were still in the delivery room, but it took us a while to announce it because of a slight name-spelling discrepency between James and me.
- We had a little bit of a jaundice scare and almost had to leave Emmett in the hospital for a few extra days (Luckily, the doctors deemed him good to go and we were discharged as scheduled on January 18 – Emmett was able to experience his first snow!).
- My mom stayed with us for the first week and was a huge help with the transition.
- Emmett has already had his first doctor visit (plus a follow-up!), which included his first trip on the T. Interesting fact: Emmett only lost two ounces in the hospital, but gained 6 oz. back by his first doctor visit 2 days later! (Doctors prepare you to expect them to lose 1 lb. within the first week – what a piggy!) As of his second doctor appointment last Thursday, Emmett already weighed 8 lbs. 6 oz.!
- We gave him his first sponge bath at home the other day – I think he was a fan.
- He lost his umbilical cord stump on the 26th, revealing quite a cute little outie belly button.
Last but not least - a huge thank you to everyone who has sent me and James congratulatory messages over the past couple weeks via text, facebook, twitter, etc. I wish I had the time to thank each of you individually!
Age Timer: 12 days old
I hit an important pregnancy milestone on Monday – the halfway point! It’s hard to believe I only have about four and a half months left before Baby Lump pops out. I had another appointment Monday, and Dr. Stagg says everything is looking A-okay. She also whipped out the tape measure and started measuring my belly this week. Things are right on track!
If any of you are curious since my last post, I did remember to ask her about the hiccuping sitch. She said hiccups are a result of an irritation of the diaphragm and speculates that the added pressure of the baby is just causing more frequent irritation. And no, apparently it’s not that common. I’m just weird.
Also, the beach was great! The weather was perfect, the water was beautiful, and despite James’ unwillingness to wear sunscreen and his subsequent sunburn, he had a great first time at the Jersey shore.
I’ve also been looking into some childbirth education classes, since apparently it’s about that time. After some careful thought, I decided I want to give birth naturally. That’s right – no meds for me. My mom delivered both my sisters and I naturally, so I decided I wanted to be brave as well. Plus, I love myself a challenge (as if raising the the pending baby won’t be enough of a challenge). Anyway, when my mom basically laughed in my face after I told her I was planning on just winging the natural childbirth thing sans instruction, I figured I’d look into some classes.
As of this coming October, Mass General Hospital will be holding all of their family education courses through Isis Maternity, a series of pregnancy wellness centers in Massachusetts, which works out great for us since we can attend classes right in Brookline – much closer than downtown at MGH. I’m hoping to enroll in the Natural Childbirth class in October, but I’m still banging out the details.
Enjoy the last few days of summer!
Oven Timer: 20 weeks, 2 days