We welcomed our sweet baby girl Emilia Jane into the world on Monday, July 20, 2020.
Tyler and I feel indescribably grateful for Emmie and the joy she has brought to our little family already. We are sort of faking it til we make it with this whole two under two deal so far, but we wouldn’t change a thing.
I’ve been trying to be better about sharing updates on my Instagram about how we are doing, but today I wanted to get my birth story in writing before the details get hazy. With Charlotte, it took me almost a year to fully write everything out, so I wanted to do it as soon as possible this time.
My doctor and I had decided months ago that we would induce at 39 weeks in an effort to make my labor and delivery go a little more smoothly than it did with Charlotte.
Charlotte weighed over 9lbs when she was born. Also, the cord was wrapped around her neck which made the whole day very scary. I labored for 24 hours and pushed for 3 only to have her vacuumed out which, as you might imagine, took a toll. My physical recovery was intense which made my emotional recovery that much harder. (Read more here).
This time around, my doctor thought it would be a good idea to induce a week early, knowing (or at least hoping) my baby would be a little smaller, thus sparing me the dramatics that would accompany a delivery like Charlotte’s.
All summer we planned to meet at the hospital at 7:30am on July 20th, unless of course Emmie surprised us and came early. I was excited to have the date picked and thrilled by how catchy her birthday would be (07/20/20–how cute!).
I was so, so nervous leading up to labor and delivery this time. I was (still am) scarred by how scary Charlotte’s birth was, and I just wanted this one to be quick, smooth, and peaceful.
I wanted to get it over with and hold my baby in my arms as soon as possible.
I am just not the type of person who has babies come early (although now that it’s in writing, I’m sure our third will take us by storm). I never got my hopes up that she would join us before our scheduled induction.
And I was right.
Dr. Cobb tried to sweep my membranes a few days beforehand but was unable to because my “cervix is just very posterior,” a phrase I have heard now a few too many times in this life and never wish to again.
We had a relaxing weekend at home, full of last-minute household to-do’s, spicy food, and playing with Charlotte.
On Sunday night, we packed up and drove to my parents’ house. They were in charge of Charlotte while we were at the hospital. Tyler and I put her to bed there and slept over because I couldn’t stand the thought of being away from her for one second longer than I had to.
I slept poorly on Sunday night–so poorly, in fact, that around midnight I relocated to a different bedroom than Tyler for the first time in our marriage. (It turns out that two people both weighing 200 lbs just physically cannot fit in the same queen bed, who knew).
We woke up early Monday morning with butterflies and drove the foggy 30 minutes to the hospital, holding hands and talking about Charlotte.
I strolled onto the birth center floor, masked up and ready to rock, and greeted the nurse’s station with a hearty “HEY EVERYONE” (sometimes my nerves catapult me into gregarious confidence when the adrenaline hits).
They checked me in, showed us to our room, and introduced us to Diane, our nurse for the day. Our hospital only assigns one patient to each nurse for delivery which is amazing.
Dr. Cobb’s plan was to start with a Cytotec induction and then move on to Pitocin if need be. My nurse got me all settled, inserted the Cytotec capsule, and left us to relax for the morning.
She had told me that I was dilated to 2 cm when she inserted the Cytotec, which wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear, but I guess 2 is better than 0?
Within an hour or so, the Cytotec kicked in and I started feeling some contractions. They became pretty regular–but not overly painful–and I was hopeful that my cervix was beginning to follow orders.
By the afternoon, I was still feeling very regular contractions, but she checked me and I was still at a 2. Things were starting to feel familiar to my first delivery, but I tried not to get discouraged.
She and Dr. Cobb decided to start a slow drip of Pitocin to get things moving a little more. She started the Pitocin and then had me do all these “spinning babies” positions which were a little awkward but at the very least an interesting way to pass the time. I spent most of the late afternoon bouncing on the birthing ball.
Dr. Cobb made an appearance around 5pm, checked my cervix, and announced dryly that I was a “tight 3.” He wanted to up the Pitocin a little bit and check back in a couple of hours.
Around 7pm, I started to tire of bouncing on the birthing ball. Also, my contractions were getting a little more intense, so I began to consider asking for my epidural.
I thought, “Ok this is going to be a long night–I think I’m ready to just relax and let Western medicine take over completely.”
Remember, my vision for this birth was that it be as peaceful as possible. And even though I had a bad experience with my epidural last time (had to have it redone and even then it barely worked), I am just not the type of girl whose bucket list includes anything remotely to do with natural childbirth.
I wanted an easy breezy birth where I could just focus on the baby. Is that so much to ask? (Apparently, yes).
So at 7:45pm, I bid a clingy goodbye to my day nurse Diane and asked my new nurse to please ask the anesthesiologist to come by when he had a chance, thanks.
I laid down and tried halfheartedly to relax while I waited for him (I was SO nervous about getting the epidural placed, and my contractions were starting to get seriously agitating).
Suddenly, at 8pm, my water broke, and all hell broke loose. Like, right that second.
My nurse checked me and said, “Oh, well, you’re still at a 3,” to which I replied through gritted teeth, “Ok that’s fine but can you please call Dr. Cobb to let him know? Also, can you try to get the anesthesiologist in here?”
I was trying to be patient with the girl, but where was the sense of urgency?!?
The minute my water broke, my contractions became entirely unbearable.
I went from breathing through them to *literally* screaming my head off within minutes. It completely took me by surprise, and I was a total wreck.
It’s almost funny to picture now (with a healthy few weeks of hindsight, of course): me clutching Tyler’s hand, writhing on the bed, yelling at the top of my lungs for the nurse to TURN THE PITOCIN OFF AND WHERE IS MY EPIDURAL.
Tyler was absolutely beside himself, as you might imagine. The man can’t even handle the sight of me with a paper cut.
He would hold my hand through the contraction (honestly shocked all his fingers remained intact), sprint out to the hall to yell at whoever happened to be walking by at the moment, then run back to my side to grab my hand and gingerly hold my portable fan directly in front of my face.
This went on for over an hour. It was horrific.
Bear in mind that I had NOT prepared for this whatsoever. Not once in my life have I had the foresight or desire to even casually Google how to cope with active labor contractions.
Tyler did his best to talk me through it and cheer me on, but he was just as unprepared as I was. As naive as it sounds, neither of us even considered the option that I would be in excruciating pain that day.
By the time the anesthesiologist made it into our room–at 9pm, over an hour after I asked for him–he was visibly annoyed with me, Tyler, and my new poor nurse (who at this point was honestly a basket case from not knowing how to deal with me. Tyler and I really thrive under *confident* medical care, and my girl was just not steely enough to rise to the occasion).
He brusquely inserted my epidural between contractions which was a total breeze compared to what was going down in my uterus. He let me know that it should start working within 20-30 minutes and stormed out of the room.
The minutes ticked by, and I experienced no relief at all. In fact, my contractions grew WORSE over the course of the next 30 minutes which was unbelievable to me at the time. I was still yelling like a maniac through each wave of pain.
I was completely serious when I looked at Tyler and my nurse between contractions and stone cold asked them if sedation was an option. (Neither replied).
The anesthesiologist eventually came back and started slamming things around and getting ready to redo my epidural.
But, FINALLY, at the 30-minute mark exactly, a contraction came along that felt slightly less horrendous than the previous thousand. I asked the anesthesiologist to wait for a couple of minutes, and sure enough, the pain started tapering off.
By this point, a little after 9:30, my nurse had called in her supervisor to take over the chaos in room 508. The supervisor waited a minute for the epidural to really kick in before quietly asking me if she could check my cervix (my nurse had asked about 20 minutes prior and I nearly bit her head off).
I thought, there’s no way anything has happened down there but why not. She checked me, looked over to my nurse and said, “Ok she’s fully dilated and ready to push. Call Dr. Cobb.”
I couldn’t believe it! It had only been 90 minutes since I was at a 3 when my water had broken. I looked over at Tyler who slumped over my bed, crying his eyes out in relief.
Rejuvenated by my newly functioning epidural, I cheerfully geared up for a couple of hours (or at least an hour) of pushing. The thought briefly crossed my mind that I should have Tyler turn on some music and maybe grab our camera from the other side of the room, but it seemed like everyone was really rushing around?
I voiced something along the lines of “Don’t I need to labor down or do some practice pushing first?? That’s what I did with my first baby!”
The supervisor nurse looked at me blankly and said, “Oh honey, this’ll be quick.”
Just minutes later, our Knight in Shining Armor Dr. Cobb came bounding into the room, looking as happy to see me as if we were friends that had run into each other at a bar. (Both Tyler and I are just obsessed with the man.)
He covertly barked at the nurse for not calling him sooner, gave me a quick but effective pep talk, and got to work. I reminded him to please not let me tear to which he gave a reassuring nod.
I pushed once, and everyone in the room started ooing and awwing about the baby crowning which was absolutely shocking to me. I asked if she had hair and received a resounding “no.”
Then Dr. Cobb had me do what felt like a half push, asked me to stop, pulled her head out, and then said to push again, and SHE WAS OUT at 9:54pm.
It literally took 60 seconds lol.
There’s something otherworldly about the moment you hold your child for the first time. For me, it feels like a total release from all of the waiting and praying and wondering and dreaming. But it’s more than that, too.
Anne Lammott says in her book Hallelujah Anyway that “A baby feels and smells like God.” That has always made so much sense to me and never more than in the two moments I have been blessed with holding my children for the first time.
That hallowed moment, when God hands me this child to hold, protect, and ultimately let go of again, is sacred and precious and overwhelmingly humbling.
That moment, when my baby is new and warm and safe on my chest, is my very own glimpse into heaven and the safety and glory of my Savior.
This moment, these now two moments of mine, these are the ones that let me touch the face of God.
I will cherish and replay them in my mind every day for the rest of my life.
Holding Emmie for the first time took my breath away so sharply that I barely even cried. Tyler held my shoulders, tears streaming down his face.
On a more anatomical note, Dr. Cobb was very pleased by the fact that I barely tore–although no one was more pleased than I–and quickly placed a couple of stitches while the nurses made sure Emmie’s vitals looked good (they did, thank goodness).
Then, my favorite part of all: everyone left the room, turned the lights down, and let us bond with our sweet girl. Emmie nursed right away while we just stared at each other wide-eyed, trying to process the hurricane of what had just happened. Tyler did his skin to skin time with her, and I, predictably, fell in love with him all over again.
The first things I noticed about her were her delicate feet and hands, her BRIGHT blonde hair, and her *single* dimple on her left cheek. She looked just like Charlotte but also totally different.
Oh, and she weighed 8 lbs, 3 oz (exactly one pound less than Char).
Tyler and I were both just floored–by how quickly and intensely she came that night after a long day of waiting around, by how beautiful she was, by the gravity of realizing that we have another daughter to break our hearts every day of forever.
We all fell asleep for a few hours and woke up to Dr. Cobb making his morning rounds, and then the pediatrician, and then the lactation consultant.
We spent the day resting, working on Emmie’s latch, and recovering. Then, much to our delight, they let us go home that evening.
We packed up and drove home (not without a stop to pick up Cheesecake Factory takeout, of course). Tyler unpacked and picked up the house when we got home, and then we rested and ate and snuggled with our baby girl the rest of the night.
The next morning my parents brought Charlotte back to us, and we were SO excited to see her and introduce her to her new sister.
I didn’t have my hopes up for a movie scene introduction, as almost-two-year-olds can really be unpredictable in these scenarios, but Char was adorable. She kept saying “bebe bebe bebe bebe” and trying to give Emmie kisses.
My heart was (is) so full watching the two of them bond, even though Charlotte wishes Emmie was a bit more interactive than she is right now, lol.
We are tired but happy and loving our new life as a family of four. We feel so very blessed and don’t want to forget a second of these early sleepy weeks together.