The Calm that Saved Me - Emery Rae's Birth Story
Emery Rae came into this world practically perfect. My girl was prompt and textbook and worked with me every step of the way. Having done this whole song and dance once before, I was prepared to a certain degree. I didn’t go overboard thinking and dreaming about the birth, mainly because I was busy worrying about my first born; my Logan who didn’t want to come out in the first place, who made it impossible for me to have any control during his birth and who runs every aspect of my world. I had prepped for his birth for weeks and weeks and was mentally connected to him on every level. Not to say I wasn’t connected the second time around but my concern for Logan no longer being the baby and how that would affect him (and me) left no time for weeks and weeks of prepping. So I loosened all the reigns and just let it be. I think my uneventful pregnancy and the tranquil little soul inside helped me to do this.
I had no signs of labor those last few weeks. This was no surprise to me. I wasn’t worried though or in much of a rush. Things were about to change drastically so I was soaking up that time with my little guy, organizing the house, nesting, etc. I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for 39+6. I knew we’d talk about induction at the appointment and I just didn’t want to go there. It’s really no fun at all and takes away from the natural birthing experience. So the day before I participated in some serious toddler play to move things along. To my delight, I got a really bad stomach ache around 9pm. Woo. I called my sister and we worked through the pain, deciding if it was the start of labor or something else (which I don’t need to explain here). Well, it was both! Yay! Around 10:30pm the contractions had commenced, vey irregularly though. I started to time them and made notes on my phone. They were semi painful, lasting about a minute long but were consistent throughout the night. Around 2am I took a shower to calm my nerves. I was so worried about disturbing Logan in the night. I just didn’t want to disrupt him if we had to go to the hospital while he was sleeping. He doesn’t do well with change or me leaving, ever, so I just had to make it to the morning so he could go to daycare and do his normal thing. My mom told me to stop moving around because that would bring on labor more aggressively, so in the quiet of the night I basically suffered in fetal position in bed, riding through the contractions until morning. I didn’t sleep. Not even for a minute. My contractions were between 7-12 apart – not enough time for any meaningful rest. But things started to settle down in the morning so I was able to get Logan ready for the day and spend some one on one time with him. Chris was in the background, supportive, keeping calm just as I needed him to be. That little bit of moving around though really brought the pain. Wow. I snuggled my boy in tears before we walked out the door – fortunately he had no idea why really. We dropped Logan at daycare together, me riding out contractions and pain with a smile on my face. I was full of the obvious emotions both happy and bittersweet. I remember being awfully quiet during this time too. It was pretty out of character for me but also necessary. I was fully aware that there was going to be a baby today and didn’t want to become the crazed, anxiety ridden mess I was with my sons birth.
Now that Logan was safe and sound I had the power to move this thing along. The contractions hurt – like couldn’t walk or talk through them hurt. But still too far apart, so it was time to walk it out and bring them closer together. It was a gorgeous September day and no one was around. Chris and I walked in the fresh air for about 45 minutes or so, talking about super random things and pausing when each contraction took over my life. I was still timing them in my phone and when I noticed that for the past half hour they were just 5-6 minutes apart I decided to call my doctor and basically said “Hey, I’m coming to the hospital and you will not send me away!” The car ride was tough. It was the same tough with my first and really hard to handle since there’s nowhere to go, no space to crouch into a ball. And at this point in my labor, which had started 12 hours ago, every contraction brought tears. There was no other way around it. I just had to cry it out and that was that! I waddled my ass into labor & delivery and in between I-see-stars contractions I checked myself in around noon. I was 4cm dilated, yippy, and was admitted right away. Let the show begin!
Unlike my last birth where I was confined to the bed for the entire day, I asked for a portable monitor so I could pace around and essentially “labor” all over the place. Chris relaxed in the corner on a chair while I did my thing. My mom came in and rubbed my back while I was going through it but at that point I really didn’t want to be touched. I was all splotchy from tears and bone tired. One of the hardest parts of labor is the exhaustion and it hit me hard around 3pm. I was running on two over medium eggs and no sleep in over 24 hours. Things moved pretty fast from here on out though. I think my doctor broke my water around 4pm, and I was 8cm dilated, so at that point I was in the hospital bed, really wet and uncomfortable and wanting to take a shower. I was waiting for the almighty pressure-down-there pain to kick in, the way it wrecked me the first time, but I didn’t feel much of that yet. I may or may not have dozed off for 20 minutes here and there throughout the day but that’s a bit of a blur to me now. As calm as ever, my doctor checked me one last time and said “Colleen, you’re 10cm dilated. Do you want to get this baby out now?” I was like NO but also YES, YES PLEASE! The panic of my first pushing experience came to mind and I was paralyzed for a minute or two by fear. Proper pushing and control over your breathing is key here! Again, I didn’t realize this with my son’s birth and had overexerted myself too fast too soon. He suggested we try one round of pushing and go from there. I thought “okay baby, let’s do this together and make it short and sweet”. Oh did my girl know what to do. With calming dimmed lights and a very quiet energy from those in the room, I waited for a contraction, took a deep breath, held it and pushed her down. I was so strangely focused and in complete control. I waited for the next contraction and repeat, repeat, repeat. After four rounds of pushing, the pressure-down-there pain took over. Suffice it to say, I got a little bit crazy here. That pressure discomfort is no joke. If you’re like me and feel everything from your fingertips to your toes during labor, you know I’m not messing around. After some panicking, a few tears and a pep talk from my mom and Chris, I was back on track. And good thing I got there because baby was falling out (I thought) so I was yelling “catch the baby!” Fifth contraction and the doctor told me to take a very deep breath, push and hold it. In my mind I was like “I WILL KILL YOU!” but instead huffed “NO, NO I CAN’T IT HURTS!” He basically told me to suck it up because this was the LAST push. He should have led with that.
My tiny little lady came out just 25 minutes after pushing, gorgeous and hungry and cuddly as ever. She was and is the calm I never knew I needed. I thank her all the time for that.