I know this is loooooooong overdue, so thank you guys for being patient with me! I’ve taken the last few months to really focus on family and trying to figure out our new normal as a family of 4. But now that the newborn fog is starting to lift (thankfully!!!), I’m ready to dive back in!
So let’s start from the beginning… we welcomed Emerson Lucille into the world on June 27, 2017, on her due date! (Did you know that only 5% of babies are born on their actual due date? I didn’t!) She was born at 8:20 p.m., weighing 7 lbs 7 oz and measured 21.25 inches long.
I was already scheduled to be induced at 8 p.m. on June 27, if she didn’t decide to come on her own. As we went through the weekend with still no sign of baby, I thought for sure I was going to be induced. Then I woke up at 4 a.m. on June 27 with some light contractions. I had been having some contractions on + off for about a week, so I didn’t get too excited. After a few of them in a row, I started timing them but the contractions remained unorganized and generally about 15-20 minutes apart. I couldn’t sleep (it’s hard to sleep well when you have to pee 14x a night, aimright??) so I paced around the house, timing the contractions. I got into the shower about 6:30 a.m., and by the time Jeff woke up at 7 a.m. I was pretty sure this was the real deal + baby was finally on the way.
My in-laws had been on standby for the last few weeks…ready to stay with Everett whenever I went into labor. We called them to say contractions were starting, but there was no huge rush just yet. We called the OB at about 8 a.m. and reported the contractions were 8-9 minutes apart, generally, but some were 3 minutes apart while some were 10-11 minutes apart. Since it clearly wasn’t active/organized labor yet and my water had not broken, they said to take our time.
We finished getting ourselves ready, had some breakfast then said a long goodbye to Everett. I was super emotional leaving him because it was the last time we’d be together as a family of 3. Luckily, his grandparents kept him distracted, so we headed to the hospital.
I was checked into my room about 10 a.m. but from there, things become a bit of a blur. There was a flurry of activity as nurses checked me in, did blood work, etc. All the while, contractions were getting closer together + stronger. Thankfully my trusted + beloved doctor, Dr. G (the specialist that had been seeing us the last 5 months), was on-call at the hospital that day, which was pure luck. We were hoping that he would be there for delivery but there was no way to predict how it would all work out. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried!
Things were moving slowly but steadily over the next few hours. Finally about 2 p.m. I requested the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in with the epidural kit and got to work. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, breathing through contractions, as he prepped my back. Then I heard him say “Wow, I’ve never had that happen before.” Trust me… that is not something you want to hear your doctor say. Especially a doctor that is about to insert a giant needle into your spine! Turns out the epidural kit was just missing one of the needles he needed. So we had to wait for another kit to be brought in, which had ALL the necessary pieces. It took a little longer than expected but the epidural was inserted without any complications and immediately my body relaxed. It was blissful.
I tried to rest and take some naps over the next few hours. My sister, Hillary, came over sometime in the afternoon (again, it’s all a bit of a blur) to keep us company and brought Jeff some dinner. They chatted while I slept. I was only at about 6 cm so the doctor decided to break my water about 4:30 p.m. to keep things moving.
Over the next hour or so, I was feeling more + more nauseous, even throwing up a few times. I was also feeling more pressure (no real pain though, due to the epidural) but I could feel the powerful contractions coming closer + closer together. At about 6 p.m., the OB came in to check on me and suddenly I was fully dilated. Another flurry of activity happened as they prepared everything for the next phase of delivery. Since I was at Children’s Hospital, they notified the NICU to be on standby as soon as we got closer.
Dr. G had finished his shift at 4 p.m. and had to leave for his son’s baseball game, however said he would come back as soon as he could when I finally was ready to deliver the baby. The nurses called him and said he’d be back as soon as he could. We tried to wait a little bit longer but by 6:45 p.m. they said I had to start pushing, baby wasn’t waiting!
I was feeling really nauseous by this point. I had already been throwing up all afternoon, but by the time I was ready to start pushing, it got a little crazy. Before every single strong contraction, I would suddenly feel sick and throw up. Then a strong contraction would start and PUUUUUUSH. Then rest for a minute between contractions. Then throw up. Then puuuuuush. Then rest. You get the picture. I remember some of the doctors + nurses commenting that they’ve never seen anyone get sick that predictably every time a contraction came on. We all knew it was coming before it showed up on the monitor because I would suddenly get sick.
It was a long hour and a half, but finally our sweet little girl made her grand entrance!
As soon as she came out, the OB held her up and my first thought was “She looks EXACTLY like Everett!!!” We heard her cry and they put her right onto my chest. She was perfect. They gave us a few minutes with her and then took her over to the infant cart to do an initial examination. This part is a total blur because Jeff told me later there were suddenly 12 people in the room (the 2 of us, my sister, my 2 doctors (on-call OB, my perinatologist), 3 nurses, and 4 nurses/doctors from the NICU). I do remember Dr. G coming over to me and said that she looks perfect + super healthy. However, they still needed to take her down to the NICU as a precaution to monitor her and run some tests.
It was really important to me to have some skin-to-skin time immediately and try to nurse her as soon as possible. We were allowed to hold her + nurse her for almost an hour (which is a REALLY long time for babies in the NICU) before they insisted Emmy needed to go to the NICU for monitoring. I sent Jeff down to the NICU with her to make sure she was okay and so we knew where she was getting settled into. My doctors finished with my care, then I was able to get a little rest. I wasn’t allowed to get out of the bed until my epidural wore off a bit and I could move my legs freely again. That gave me a bit of time to rest before heading down to the NICU to spend the night with Emmy down there. The next 36 hours were spent back + forth from her NICU room to my L+D room, which thankfully was only a short walk down a few hallways.
The nurses took amazing care of both of us and I will be forever thankful to them. The next morning, June 28, both the endocrinology team + the genetics team came to check her out. She received glowing reports from all of her doctors. They continued monitoring her but said that by all standards, she was perfectly healthy. Originally they told us that she would need to be in the NICU until the rushed newborn screen results came back from the lab, at the very minimum it would 48 hours, but probably a few more days just to be sure. To our surprise, all of her doctors agreed that she showed no signs of the diseases we were initially concerned about and that we could take her home and wait the 2 weeks for the blood results to come back.
After a slight scare concerning Emmy’s bilirubin levels (they were borderline high, but said that we could monitor it from home and follow up with our pediatrician instead of staying in the NICU), we were both discharged on Thursday afternoon. We walked out of the NICU after only 36 hours and felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of our shoulders. We had all steeled ourselves for potentially the worst case scenario when we walked into the hospital but somehow all of our prayers had been answered and we were leaving with a perfectly healthy baby girl.
Once again, I have to say thank you to everyone that prayed for us + our sweet little Emerson. It was a scary, stressful 6 months that, thankfully, turned out to be all for nothing. I needed some time to process + reflect on everything we have been through this year, but I am beyond grateful that we’ve finally come out the other side.
There are so many more things to share, but I’ll save those thoughts for another day. Today, I just feel thankful to have a happy, healthy baby in my arms. I love all of you for the constant love + support – we felt it every single day.