Celebrating Emma, who joined our party four years ago today!
Celebrating Emma, who joined our party four years ago today!
When I came across this photo on a hard drive my heart leaped. I don’t remember ever seeing it before. Looking at that tiny infant on me I suddenly distinctly remembered how new everything was at the beginning. For a week or so breast feeding was the most difficult task in the world. I was feeding her every 3-4 hours and even waking her in the middle of the night so that she would eat and hopefully gain weight. My poor nipples were so sore and she was so hungry. Eek! I would try to sleep when she did like I had been advised but some times I just couldn’t and would end staying awake washing cloth wipes, tidying up the cottage or just watching her sleep. maiki and I were already looking at pictures of her while she was sleeping even then and talking about how we could not believe that we were parents and they just let us take her home from the hospital like it was no big thing. It was such a weird time (no clear division between days anymore) and we were blissed out and sleep deprived. I was so thankful that I didn’t have to go back to work for a while and could just get used to my new job of being a mother. Now I wished that my weeks at home were more like months at home to bond, but its always cut short.
One time maiki got the flu. He felt so bad because Emma was so new and I was left to take care of her by myself. I managed somehow but then almost like an alarm went off suddenly he felt better and I was the one who could barely hold her for being so ill. I had a high fever and still breast fed so that she would get the antibodies to avoid the flu that we had. It was the strangest moment of my life and I just hoped and prayed that I recovered quickly. Those were the days when I most appreciated food being delivered to my door. We had been gifted a fancy meal delivery service and ate better those nights than if I was cooking dinner. And we always had dessert. The desserts were the best part and I daydreamed that we had the funds to keep the dessert delivery going for ever. Those were the days-chocolate cheesecake and baby snuggles. ^_^
Our baby is now five months old so I thought it was about time to write her birth story. I had transcribed some of this for my family when she was born but this a more complete story. Also maiki recently wrote about our birth plan so I guess that was a hint to post this. ^_^
We walked to our midwife appointment on October 20th. I was 41 weeks along and anxious for Emma’s arrival. I felt the usual cramping when walking but that had been going on for weeks. That morning I was spotting so I was hoping that was a sign labor would come soon. During our appointment there was an earthquake (3.5 and based in Berkeley). Everyone but us evacuated the office and we enjoyed an extra long visit with our midwife and her assistant. They decided to do an internal exam and sweep the membranes. Right away the contractions began. We weren’t sure how things would go from here but knew we needed to go home and eat/rest. Walking home took a while and I would stop and put my arms around maiki’s neck about once per block to wait and breathe through the cramping. When we got back to the cottage, maiki made sure I was okay and went across the street to pick up food. I tried to eat some quinoa, garden burger and potatoes but it was difficult. I would have a contraction and then afterwards take some bites, start to feel sick, have another contraction and then try to eat more. The contractions were getting closer together, stronger and more regulated. We used an app to track them on my phone. Finally they were 3-4 mins apart for an hour so we decided it was time to go to the hospital. We got a ride from our friend Natalie, who lives in the front house. I was feeling nauseated and almost threw up in the car but we made in less than ten minutes despite the late afternoon traffic.
At the midwife office I was dilated at 2 cm. In Triage they said I was still only at 2 cm. I was so surprised to hear that there was no change. I was however almost fully effaced. In triage I threw up a lot and the contractions just kept getting stronger and closer together. Despite all this a nurse said that I may have be discharged. We were devastated. They gave us the option to walk around for an hour and then come back and they would check me again. maiki carried the basin for me to puke in and we trooped around the hall. I stopped at the bathroom, held onto the walls and maiki wailing in pain. I just kept telling him to push on my lower back as hard as he could for counter pressure. It had been just the two of us all this time because our doulas were not allowed upstairs until we were admitted to labor and delivery. maiki begged them not to leave and they told him if they left it would be all of us going to another hospital. It was such a painful, long hour and I told maiki that I wasn’t leaving the hospital no matter what! There was another earthquake and it felt like the same big jolt as the one before. I remember thinking that it was all so surreal and would be an interesting addition to Emma’s birth story.
Finally we went back to Triage and they checked me out: 4 cm! We were allowed to stay! They wheeled me to a room in labor and delivery and our doulas met us there. There were several nurses and one kept asking me tons of questions and giving me paperwork, while another was taking my temperature and hooking up me up to an IV and the telemetry machine. It was so overwhelming! I tried to sign my name on some stupid form and it was crazy looking because I was having a contraction. They were so close together that one would start maybe thirty seconds after the one ended. The doulas could tell I was in quite a stressful environment and tried to get me to focus and breathe. They saved me. We decided to try getting me in the bath but it only lasted like five minutes. I mentioned that I wanted to get out and sit on the toilet and they informed was I was ready to push. The nurse checked and I was at 9 cm. We were floored. It had all happened so very fast and we had not even been in labor and delivery for an hour yet.
I relocated to the bed. Laying down was uncomfortable so I stood up on the bed holding a rail and crouched down. It was very productive and Emma was making her way down, preparing the make her final descent. The bag of waters broke. I laid back down and pushed. I had people holding my legs and arms and a doula holding a wet wash cloth on my head and giving me ice water. It was crazy as hell but we did it. I was being loud and the delivery nurse told me that I could breathe better if I was quiet and focused. I tried that but then the room got so quiet. I once asked if I was supposed to push between contractions because everyone just kinda looked at me, waiting for something to happen. I was like ‘I don’t know what the hell I am doing here guys. You’re supposed to tell me what to do!’ The nurse said if I wanted to push then I should push. The experience was like trying to pat your head and rub your belly while a melon passes through you. Too much going on to notice what is really happening. Finally the nurse said that I could reach down and feel her head. It was a weird feeling and brought me back to what my body was really doing. A few minutes later out came Emma. She was poopy and slimy and they placed her across my chest/belly and it was a magical feeling. This little person lived inside of me for 41 weeks! I didn’t care at all that she was covered with mucus, my heart just swelled and maiki looked at us in awe. Life was perfect. I guess in all there was 2 hours of pushing but it seemed like less. Emma’s birthday is October 21 and was born around one in the morning. I overheard the midwife say that she came out with her arm wrapped around her neck. She was probably trying to suck her thumb and then got all tangled up. She weighed in at 8 lbs, 12 oz. so much bigger than I expected. I had some how managed a natural delivery with no tearing. In Triage I told maiki I wanted an epidural but I got through it. Having maiki and 2 doulas made it bearable. I had an amazing delivery team!
Emma was cleaned up and I breast fed her for the first time. It was so amazing. My breasts were bigger than her head! She was so cute and small and had the longest fingers and toes. maiki took some videos of her crying and one with the hiccups while we were in the hospital. We took a lot of pictures actually.
Today I won a giveaway from the blog Marvelous Kiddo. It was part of their Sakura Bloom Styleathon and they generously gave three lucky winners a linen sling from Sakura Bloom’s Pure Collection. maiki and I get to chose the color and it is a tough decision! We are leaning towards seaglass.
We are both really looking forward to babywearing and these slings look both beautifully made and easy to put on. From the beginning maiki and I have discussed not even getting a stroller and have remained confident that babywearing really is the best way is to hold baby Emma. Since we primarily walk everywhere I am sure that the sling will be well used!
I have really enjoyed discovering the blog Marvelous Kiddo and have read dozens (if not hundred+) birth stories from Leigh’s site! I was a bit obsessed in the beginning and feel that I now have a better understanding of the actual birth part that is to come. She also posts lots of classical art pieces that depict breast feeding women and shares openly how wonderful it is to be a breast feeding mother. I felt a connection when reading her blog and the stories of so many different women. I am so grateful to her site and now also for being a winner of her giveaway. The internets are full of inspiration and supportive folks!