The Story of Emmett James’s Birth.
I was nearing my due date, December 23rd, 2010, and to everyone around me, very obviously uncomfortable and anxious, as all mommas are the last weeks of their pregnancy.
It was Christmas time and I had channelled my ‘nesting’ instinct into getting shopping and wrapping completed. I actually completed a graphite portrait for my mother-in-law as her gift. I was feelin puuurty good about getting stuff done and being prepared.
I even wrote a 7 page instruction manual for my mother and mom-in-law on Lexington’s (our oldest son) daily routine, activities and mealtimes, in the event that I go into labor, because he would need to stay with one of them.
7 PAGES?! I am keeping the thing as proof of my ridiculous anxiety.
I had my bags packed. I packed bags, diapers, blankets and dry snacks for Lexington, with back-ups of everything, followed up with backups of the backups… I had even packed my husband’s bag for him.
I was absolutely certain that I was going to deliver early. I have no idea why I was so certain, because I didn’t with my previous child. Cutting out the long two weeks of agony all pregnant mothers experience before going into labor, the day finally arrived.
Low and behold, December 23, 3am, I woke up with low back pain. “hmm, exactly the same time I started labor with Lexington,” thinks I. This time, I had read The Birth Book by Drs. William & Martha Sears, and I chose an OB who specialized in natural births. I’d talked and read about calming techniques for weeeeeeks. So, of course, I heaved myself up to pee for the 20th time that night and returned to bed, ignoring the pain, knowing it was only the beginning.
But I kept waking up. Every 10 or so minutes. Craig, my peacefully slumbering husband, remained absolutely oblivious in his heavenly state of rest.
Suddenly my body was telling me that laying down was the worst thing I could possibly be doing. I couldn’t think of anything better to do! But I blinked and found myself squatting on the floor beside the bed. *Best discovery for managing labor pain.* EVER.
Okay, so I lasted a few contractions, but knew I’d have to sound the alert. I txted my mom to be ready to watch Lexington. I patted the mattress next to my sleeping rock of a husband. “—WHA!?” He shook the whole bed with such a jolt, shooting upright, it nearly rebounded my squatting self backward.
“We gotta go.” I strained from the floor.
Made it to the hospital, got checked-in. While I was in the first room waiting to be admitted, I heard another laboring momma in the room next to me:
“OHHH MYYYYY GOOOOOOOSHHH! AHHHALKSLKHSDLKH! IT HURTS SOOO BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDD! UUHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
She kept on and on like that- though I could tell she was in the same stage of labor that I was because once the pain gets bad enough, you can’t even form your words. Plus she only bellowed and carried on about every 10 minutes. When it gets really bad, you barely have time to take a breath in between contractions.
I’m like, that has GOT to be a first-timer. She was getting herself an epidural, no doubt about it.
No problem with that choice! I had one with my first baby, and I wasn’t opposed to having one with this birth either.
But a momma has got to learn how to manage her own pain, and how to place herself in a peace. PEACE!
Thanks to the reading I did for months while I awaited this day, I would be able to channel the pain as I delivered my baby, and find peace.
Ehhh, hold it right there— at that moment, the channelling was not enough. At 6:30am, after being admitted into our room, I called for an epidural.
I recognized the specialist who came to administer this wonderful drug: He was the senior pro of the three hospitals in my area. So I was reassured of the excellence and safety of my procedure.
“You’re a tall young lady!” he announced, as he cleaned my back, “How tall are you?”
“Umm, about 5’8”” I told him. Though, I’m actually 5’7 3/4”
Should I have rounded up?
I found the answer to that question about 20 minutes later, as I was blacking out and yelling for a bucket to catch the vomit I was about to purge. A nurse ran in with a syringe filled with a red drug that was supposed to balance my blood-pressure, and she literally hammered it into my IV. It sent screaming, shooting pains into my arm and numbed my forearm with a terrifying icy-ness.
That was a little scary, Craig and I thought to each other, exchanging weary looks, about 3 minutes later.
The epidural had been administered too high. I was numb from my bust to my pelvis. Instead of from my belly button to my birth canal. Yikes.
I was back to a state of calm, painlessness. The progression had slowed down and we decided to have my water broken manually. My OB broke it, however we didn’t know if he had immediately, because the position in which I was laying kept the water from leaking out. So my doc kept on scraping with the tool. Later we discover he was actually repeatedly cutting our little boy’s head with this tool.
I changed position and the water came rushing out and all of the sudden I started feeling pain …??!?!?!
With my epidural, I was given a little hand-held button to administer more of the drug as I pleased. So I kept on a clickin’ but not getting any relief. My brain was full of exclamation marks at this point. I called a nurse and asked why I wasn’t getting anything, and I never received a direct answer. Another doctor entered the room and administered some sort of painkiller that was supposed to be as effective as the epidural, but I never noticed a difference.
At this point I felt Emmett descending into the birth canal. I could feel the pressure of a 7lb 15 oz bowling ball from the inside of my body trying to come out!
I grasped onto the railing of my bed, balling my eyes out, pitifully like a little girl. “I SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO FEEL THISSSSS!!!” I whimpered through sobs. Craig tried his best to calm me down, but nothing, NOTHING could help me.
Then suddenly, I realized, this is all up to me: I was born to do this.
I remembered everything I had read. It was like the scene at the beginning of Sherlock Holmes (violent scene) when he visualizes everything he needs to do in order to overcome his opponent: I knew how I needed to do it.
So I turned away from my bed railings and looked at my OB, who had by now prepped himself and the room for the delivery of our boy. I closed my eyes- even though I knew that during contractions, keeping my eyes open is KEY to pain management.
I was almost asleep. It was the most intense, complete, silent state of rest in which I had ever found myself. I could have been laying on a beach… but a beach was too noisy, even for this zen-likeness. I was somewhere. Out of the pale lightness of my state of being, I heard my OB…. “wow, she’s in the zone.” I opened my eyes and saw everyone, my husband and nurses standing in awe around me.
I pushed. My body did it. I felt it all. I was ALIVE. Awake and natively alert while I pushed. I unabashedly groaned and like some sort of a large beast, maybe a grizzly, while I pushed.
But every 2-3 minute rest in between the contractions felt like a 30 minute state of heaven to me. Very bizarre, I kept thinking.
But I did it. At 3:07pm, three minutes after the birth of our first son a year previous, Emmett James was handed to me, scratchy little voice from the umbilical cord being wrapped around his throat, sweetest little forehead, right to my lips, to receive a first kiss from his momma. 9 months later, he still has scars on the top of his little head from being cut by my OB.
The hospital staff told me that because I had an epidural, I shouldn’t be able to stand up for many hours and that I should feel dizzy.
Um. nope. I was alive, and full of energy! I stood right up! I don’t believe that they believed my epidural wasn’t working. I mean, seriously? What is wrong with healthcare workers, that so many do not listen to their patients, nor take care of them properly?
I can thank no one else but God for the safety of myself and our little boy on that day. And for Dr. Sears, cause MAN, he and his family ROCK!