Tag Archives: pregnancy

How Emma Clover was born

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.

39 weeks

Still pregnant and enjoying maternity leave while I patiently wait. Have experienced some contractions (both Braxton Hicks and real ones) and anticipate going to the hospital at any time.

Lately I have been…

reading Haruki Murakami books: South of the Border, West of the Sun and Sputnik Sweetheart.

playing sudoku (and finishing the whole book of puzzles).

drinking gen mai cha and eating red bean buns at the Imperial Tea Court.

buying rainboots and walking around in the light rains that we’ve had.

eating delicious fruit and cheese plates made my maiki.

making almost every meal at home, including baking these muffins (now dubbed labor muffins!).

watching favorite movies: Garden State and Sense & Sensibility.

lighting candles and staying warm in our cozy cottage.



a busy and unexpected week

This week has been packed with unexpected events and many trips (some planned) to the hospital (I am just 34 weeks along so no baby just yet!). I came down with a stomach flu and had to go to the hospital Tuesday night because I was very dehydrated. It was a much longer visit than we had anticipated but felt like it was overall a positive visit. The nurses were awesome and caring and we learned a tremendous amount about what being in Triage and Labor/Delivery is like. I had external monitoring of baby and I, many bags of IV fluid being pumped into me and lots of blood drawn. I had started having contractions so I even got a taste of what that feels like. They actually had to inject me with a drug to make the contractions stop. Through the whole process maiki was there by my side and so helpful. By Wednesday evening we were home again and relieved that baby Emma was fine and we could enjoy the comforts of our little cottage again.

Thursday evening we were back at the hospital for our first class and then again all day Saturday (today) for another day long class. I have got to say that I feel really prepared now and on track for Emma’s arrival. I have learned so, so much and maiki has been a great partner. There are a few anxieties with the unpredictability of birth but I feel good. I no longer am filled with fear by just walking through the hospital doors and know that it is a place filled with trained professionals that will take wonderful care of my family. I am also learning that Labor/Delivery is my hospital’s specialty.

I have about seven days of work left and then I will start my maternity leave. Its all going by so quickly! I have plans to attend as many prenatal yoga classes as I can fit in before Emma’s arrival. We need to go to Ikea one last time, and I need to set up the cloth diaper service. Other than that we are ready. I just finished washing all of her little clothes and organizing her things and I am sure much more nesting will occur in the coming weeks! ^_^

pregnancy is not comfortable

I guess that this is something that I should have assumed but pregnancy is not comfortable!

First you get sick to your stomach and stay that way for a few months. Some people throw up. I didn’t but felt like I wanted to through the whole first trimester—all day and night long. Eating was tricky. I only wanted toast, cheese, pasta, tomato soup and melon. I lost weight in the beginning but was good about taking my prenatal vitamins. I remember figuring out towards the end that frequent, small meals kept me feeling okay so I would literally walk around with crackers in my pockets.

You have to pee all the time. This symptom has not ceased since January.

In the beginning I felt that I could have slept through for three months. Of course I was working full time so I would come home, try to eat and go to bed. All day I was tired even if I had a marathon thirteen hours sleep the night before. It was crazy because I kept reading how small this little human was and yet they were capable of sapping all of my available energy.

As soon as the first trimester ended I started throwing up when I brushed my teeth. I was left with the thought, do I brush them again or just forget the whole thing? Also your gums bleed—like a lot. This only increases your bodies inability to not gag. Seriously its gross. I went to a dental cleaning (after canceling it twice because I just wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t gag and be miserable) and it was not as terrible as I expected.

For some reason pregnant women have stuffy noses. For me this coincided perfectly with allergy season. Also I had stopped taking my prescribed nasal spray months earlier since I was pregnant so I had zero relief from the sinus problems that plagued me. One particular time I got a sinus infection and suffered for about ten days before my appointment with the midwife. She gave me the all clear to take sudafed and I seriously wanted to hug her. She also wrote down a list of safe meds that I could resort to when needed. We also went out and bought “penguin”—our humidifier that is an adorable blue penguin who blows me cool kisses while I sleep. Penguin has saved me.

They say the second trimester is a kind of break and it is in comparison to the others, but for me that is when the heartburn began. I would get heartburn from drinking water in the middle of the night! Water! I have been eating tums everyday for several months because it has not gone away. I get heartburn from water and waiting too long to eat/drink. I have noticed I get it more at work so maybe it is stress induced? Not sure but I feel that I have now officially joined the club that my mother and sisters belong: the Heartburn Club.

As baby keeps growing I am experiencing all kinds of new growing pains. First my ribs were being pushed out and that is terrible. All the books say to sleep on your left side but it was excruciatingly painful for me to do so. I can only sleep in one position comfortably and that is on my right side. Funnily enough it hurts to hold the phone up to my right ear now. I remember being at Gautham’s place on the fourth of July and just thinking “It hurts to just sit here. This sucks!” I had to stop riding my bike to work and now I waddle there at an annoyingly slow pace.

One night maiki and I were watching Naruto (my favorite show!) and I had to pause it because I felt baby move right onto my sciatic nerve. The pain ran through my back and down my leg in an instant. I was almost in tears and wanted to throw up from the pain. Luckily for me she moved away within a few minutes and I could breathe again, but wow that was so freakin scary! It has not happened again and I hope it never does. Please God or whoever, NO BACK LABOR!

Baby Emma, I love you and I am only writing this because maiki has been bugging me about for seven months. I know that you are growing quickly and I am now twenty pounds heavier. Friday I felt you very heavy and maybe drop. I now have super sore pelvic muscles and the ligaments are stretching out and I waddle even funnier than before. I have begun to see why everyone keeps telling me that I cannot work and continue to live like I do until you are born because I will not be physically able. We still have about six to eight weeks of you growing and developing before you can safely come out so I will try to take it easy.