I’m not sure how extended you can make a story about a 5 hour labor, but I’ve tried to add every detail I can remember. And a few I can’t. That being said, this post includes every detail of Emma’s birth. If you’re not into that kind of thing, refer to the condensed version.
I’m going to start with Wednesday, because that’s when I feel like the whole process started.
On Thursday, I went to see my midwife for my 39 week appointment. She told me I was dilated to a 3 (easily) and 80% effaced. I know from experience and research that this really isn’t any indication of when labor is going to start. I went home kind of bummed. What I really wanted to hear was, “Wow! This baby is going to be here any day! You’re so ready!” But I know Nancy would never have said that to me. My OB/GYN with Nathan said that to me for weeks, and it never happened. I decided to stop at the store on the way home (something I hadn’t done in a long time- especially with Nathan) and buy everything I was craving and just enjoy it. I figured it was the last time I could get away with eating whatever the heck I wanted. By the end of my shopping trip, I was so shaky and tired and sick. Besides thoroughly enjoying my lemonade, Doritos, salad, and carrot cake, I felt really weird the rest of the day. That evening, around 8:30 I started having contractions, but they were really inconsistent and I didn’t think much of it since I’d been having episodes of contractions for the past week. I was still having contractions off and on when I went to bed that night. At 2 in the morning a hard contraction woke me up and I thought, “This is it!” but I stayed up for over an hour and only had one or two small contractions so I went back to bed and figured it was just my body tricking me again.
Friday morning, I woke up around 6:30 when Ryan’s alarm went off. I felt really crampy, but wasn’t having contractions. I told Ryan and asked him to rub my back for a minute before he got up, but it never occurred to me that I might be in labor and that I should tell him NOT TO GO! He left for work in Seattle around 7 and I got up shortly after. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was having pretty consistent contractions. I timed them and they were about 15 minutes apart. I tried to eat a little breakfast, but felt too sick to choke much down. Nathan woke up a little later, and I started taking care of him.
I called my mom at 8, because I was really not feeling well and starting to realize I was going to have a baby. I wasn’t ready to call Ryan and make him come home, I just knew I couldn’t handle being alone with Nathan much longer. Once I got off the phone with my mom, I decided to call Ryan because in my heart I knew it was better to be safe, than sorry.
Let me tell you, it’s a good thing I called Ryan when I did. Here’s the timeline from his end, in the hour that he was away:
Ryan rides his bike to the train each morning, then takes the train to Seattle where he bikes to work. Then he showers and eats breakfast at work. The train only runs in the morning and evening so we knew that if I needed him home any time in between, he would have to take a long bus ride instead. The last train leaves Seattle at around 7 am. I called Ryan at 8. That morning, he stopped to talk to someone on his way in, so he had to wait for the shower. If he hadn’t he would have been in the shower when I called and would have missed my calls, then he would have had to change back into his bike clothes and wait for a later bus. He would have been home a lot later than he was. Someone was watching over us but I can’t tell you how many times I said to myself that morning, “I can’t believe I sent Ryan to work!”
When I called my midwife at 8:30, she told me to come in and I was shocked! No way! I’m only a little in labor! My contractions were still about 15 minutes apart, but I wanted to lay down each time. When I told Ryan that Nancy wanted us to head in, he didn’t think it was a good idea. He knew I didn’t want to spend hours laboring at the birth center, that I wanted to do as much as I could at home.
Since I was induced with Nathan, I called my friend Alex, who recently had her third baby, and she assured me that if my contractions were still 15 minutes apart, I had plenty of time before baby was coming. I thought so too!
My mom got to the house around 9, and my dad shortly after. I stayed in bed while Dad took care of Nathan and Mom got our last minute things ready to go. Ryan got home around 9:30 and helped me through a few contractions. My midwife called, wondering where we were but we didn’t feel ready to go anywhere. My dad left with Nathan and I again realized that it’s better to be safe than sorry. We left the house around 10:20.
It’s a 20 minute drive to Nancy’s house and I was very calm in the car, even when Ryan missed a turn. We got there at 10:45.
When we got inside, Nancy said, “I’m going to check you and if you’re still a 3, I’ll send you home, but if you’re a 4 or 5, I’ll probably have you stay.” I was really disappointed because I hadn’t realized she might make us go all the way home. She checked me and said, “Well, my dear (I braced myself for the bad news I was sure was coming), you’re at a 7!”
“yep, I can break your water right now and you can push this baby out soon if you want to.”
I told her I wanted to get in the tub and that I needed some time to wrap my head around a 7 before I did anything else. Remember, 3 1/2 hours earlier, I didn’t even know I was in labor!
I spent maybe a half an hour in the tub, where Ryan helped me with visualization and my mom stroked my forehead between contractions. Nothing is more soothing than my mom’s hands. And can I just say that I have the best birth coach in the world?! Ryan is amazing!! I’ve never been so relaxed in my life. I will never, ever labor without a tub. I thought my water finally broke so I got out of the tub. Nancy checked and it hadn’t, but I was almost at a 9 so she broke it for me. I remember at this point that Ryan said, “Wow! It isn’t even noon yet!”
I laid on my side through a few contractions while Ryan rubbed my back. Then I had 3 strong contractions with no break in between and Nancy could tell I was ready to push. Probably because I had lost the ability to relax at that point. At least there was no profanity this time!
Nancy had me put one foot on her shoulder and I was supposed to put the other on Ryan’s shoulder but he’s so much taller I ended up putting my foot right in his gut. I felt bad and it would have been kind of comical if I wasn’t pushing a baby out! My mom stayed by my side and let me squeeze her hand. Everyone was so excited that I had to ask, “Can you really see her?” I was sure they were just trying to be supportive because there was no way I was having a baby already! I pushed for 15 or 20 minutes and there she was! Born at 12:12 PM. That’s 5 hours, people! Nancy laid her on my chest and I asked if she was small because she felt so tiny. Nancy and Mom said no and I was surprised when they weighed her that she was 8 lbs 2 oz. I guess I’m just used to giant Nathan! Nancy said she turned posterior at the last minute and Ryan tells me that she was looking up towards him when she was born. He also told me he really wanted to high five someone. He’s so cute! I think my mom had a similar reaction because she gave Nancy a big hug. She should have high fived Ryan instead!
After holding her for a few minutes, I wanted to move her so I could see her face better and Nancy reminded us she was still attached. Ryan cut the cord then took her so I could deliver the placenta. This was such a painless, easy experience compared to the process with Nathan, where my OB kneaded my stomach and forced it out. Afterwards, Nancy held it up to show me and said, “Do you want to keep it?” “Ummm . . . no thank you!” “I wouldn’t either!”
Afterwards, I couldn’t stop shaking so Nancy wrapped me in warm towels and Ryan held me tight, while I held our sweet baby. Nancy was out of the room and my mom was across the room on the phone making the announcement (we didn’t even have a chance to tell everyone the baby was coming). Ryan and I talked about names and I said “What about Emma?'” It had been on our list since the beginning. He said, “I was thinking that too.” I held her and cried and knew she was my sweet Emma Jane.
My mom went back to our house to clean and make dinner and we left Nancy’s by 2:30. I gave her a hug and thanked her and then we walked out the door and said, “Have a nice day.” It all felt so casual. We stopped at a drive through on the way home to get some lunch and a giant lemonade. Birthing a person tends to make me hungry! We got home around 3 o’clock. Ryan and I kept looking at each other and smiling.
“Hey, we had a baby this morning. What did you do?” We couldn’t believe it she was here so fast and so easy and so wonderful!
Now, since you read the world’s longest birth story, you will be rewarded with pictures:
Holding her, just seconds old.
8 lbs 2 oz, 20 inches long
Mommy and Daddy
I did it!
Going home, about 2 hours old
With Nancy. She wore all her jewelry and her nice outfit through the whole thing. She knows what she’s doing!