Emma's Birth Story: April 29, 2017

Hello world! Please excuse my absence this past month, as I've been a little preoccupied with our little pink bundle of joy! Baby Emma was born Saturday, April 29th at 3:04pm, and both her daddy and I are completely in love with her! 

I still can't believe how it all happened, and it took me a while to process everything since it all happened so fast! I know that I enjoyed reading birth stories during my pregnancy, and wanted to chronicle ours so I can look back and remember :) I'll try to keep it brief, but here it goes! 

I had my (little did I know), last check up on Friday, April 28th with the doctor. 3 days prior, I had a check up that showed that Baby Emma was about 1 month behind in her measurements. My doctor expressed his concern, and stated that on Friday, we would make a decision about whether or not to induce the following week. 

When I went in on Friday, the baby's stress test was still normal, and they did a check to see how "ready" I was for labor. To my surprise (and the doctor's surprise!) I was already 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. After a few phone calls, the doctor got me in that evening at 10pm to be induced at the hospital! I called my husband, and we prepared ourselves to head to the hospital that very evening to get induced! I couldn't believe it was all happening so fast, and I was scared but also excited to see how it all would unfold, and to finally meet and hold our sweet baby! 

We got our things ready and were at the hospital by 10pm. They checked me again, and I was 4 cm dilated by this point, 80% effaced, but still not "in labor." The doctor was surprised that labor hadn't started on it's own considering how ready I was! They started me on a pitocin drip at 11:30pm, and I felt minor contractions all night, but nothing too crazy. By 5:30am, my doctor came in and broke my water. Then, it was a WHOLE different story. 

The contractions were SO painful. I originally wanted to do labor naturally, without an epidural. But my doctor warned me that induced labor is more painful than going into labor on your own, and to show myself some grace. I endured the contractions for a few hours, but by 9am I was crying and asked for the epidural. I am SO happy with this decision! The epidural only kicked in on my left side for some reason, but it still took the edge off my pain and I was able to sleep for a few hours! At 1pm, the nurse woke me up to check me and stated I was 10 cm and 100% effaced, and that I was ready to push! I was SO ready to meet my girl! 

Looking back, I'm happy that the epidural only kicked in 50% because I was still able to control my pushes and feel our baby come out. But, pushing was pretty traumatic. Things started to get a little risky, because with every contraction and every push, the baby's heart rate was dropping dangerously low. They put me on oxygen and had to remind me to breathe so that the oxygen would reach the baby. I also had to push lying on my right side (my doctor said he was so happy I worked out during my pregnancy because he was amazed at how I could hold that position!) because her heart rate wasn't dropping as much when I was on my ride side. After 2 hours of pushing, the doctor said the baby's heart was still dropping too low and we would have to do an emergency c-section or use a suction vacuum to get her out. We decided to go with the suction vacuum, and with one push from me and pull from the doctor, Baby Emma was born! 

And then I burst into big ugly tears. I guess it was the rush of the baby coming out, exhaustion, and relief. But I was so happy she was here! The NICU team was in the room to check her real quick, but after a few minutes they said she was healthy and placed her on my chest. There are no words to describe how we felt at that moment. We were so happy and thankful to God that she was here and healthy and in our arms. 

The rest of our hospital stay was a whirlwind of visitors, eating (I was HUNGRY), and learning how to breastfeed. As a certified lactation educator, I was the most excited about being able to breastfeed my daughter. Breastfeeding has been challenging, amazing, and rewarding all at the same time. We are in the processes of weaning off our pesky nipple shield, but Emma is eating like a champ and I love the moments we spend together while she is feeding. She lost a little too much weight in the hospital so we had to supplement with formula for 24 hours at the hospital until my milk came in, but once it came in, we stopped the formula and thank God I've been able to exclusively breastfeed her ever since! My goal is to breastfeed her for at least one year. It is an amazing feeling to be able to nourish your baby, and I am so thankful that God created our bodies the way He did. Ladies, we are pretty amazing! 

Being a mommy has been incredible, challenging, exhausting, and pure JOY all at the same time. All my life, I wanted to be a mommy (probably because I have an amazing mommy myself!) and I feel so thankful to God that He blessed us with sweet Emma. She makes silly faces, loves to stretch before waking up, and hates getting her diaper changed. She loves hearing her Daddy's voice and calms down when she ears the water running for her baths. She hates being swaddled and is always trying to get her hands free to sleep with them raised up. She is absolutely adorable and has stolen our hearts. 

**I just wanted to say thank you to ALL of you who prayed and showed us amazing love and support throughout this pregnancy. It was tough not knowing what would happen with our baby and the risks we had with our umbilical cord, but the comments and emails I received filled me with such gratitude and joy! Thank you all for praying, and praise the Lord that Emma is here! 

As I finish typing this, Emma is stretching and getting ready to wake up, so I should go! I hope you all have an amazing Tuesday, and thanks for reading!