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Emmett’s Birth Story

Going into the final weeks of my pregnancy with Emmett, a lot of emotions started coming up about the end of my pregnancy with Owen. I was induced with Owen at 40 weeks 2 days because I ran out of amniotic fluid, and had I not followed my gut and got a non-stress test and biophysical ultrasound when I did, things could have gone badly. Needless to say, this weighed heavily on me, even though my doctor said it’s not necessarily reoccurring in pregnancies.

And about a month before my due date, I found out my doctor would be out of town 6 days before and 4 days after my due date. At my doctor’s practice, rotating doctors in the practice isn’t standard so my doctor is the only doctor I’ve seen with both pregnancies, other than a couple times. Needless to say, I feel exceptionally close to her, and I trust her with my life. When I brought up that she was leaving around my due date, she said ‘shoot‘, only not ‘shoot‘.

We came up with a few different plans because she knew I wanted to try to VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). The main plan was to measure Emmett on Monday, Feb 19th and gauge his size and check my cervix for any dilation. Option 1 was if he was measuring large and I had started dilating, she would induce me at midnight on Wednesday (I’d be exactly 39 weeks), which was the day before my doctor was leaving for her trip. Option 2 was a c-section on Wednesday. Option 3 was to hopefully stay pregnant until she came back, and, in the meantime, if I had to deliver with a different doctor, so be it. With Option 3, my doctor asked if I was going to drive myself crazy coming in to the office for non-stress tests and ultrasounds to check my fluids because I had some PTSD from the sudden loss of fluid with Owen’s pregnancy. I had already gone in for a non-stress test and ultrasound earlier in February because I didn’t like how Emmett hadn’t moved much the two previous days (everything was fine). But I knew I would drive myself crazy worrying and going in for tests.

I went in for the ultrasound on Monday, Feb 19th to measure Emmett. The tech took the measurements a few times and calculated the average. His estimated weight was 9 pounds, 4 ounces. I immediately started laughing– because of course he was huge. He had been measuring 2 weeks ahead most of my pregnancy so I wasn’t necessarily shocked.

After the ultrasound, I went to an exam room to get checked by my doctor and talk about the options. My cervix was completely closed (not shocking– the same thing happened with Owen) so there would be no induction, so Option 1 was out of the question. We talked at length about Emmett’s projected size, how Owen was smaller (8 lb 11 oz) and didn’t fit, and if I stayed pregnant past my due date, Emmett would potentially be nearing 10 pounds. And since his chest was measuring large (40 weeks 3 days), she had concerns about his shoulders fitting. But she said, “I don’t want you to be disappointed if you can’t VBAC because I know that’s important to you.”

I thought about it for a while and due to his projected size (call me a wuss, but pushing out an estimated 9+ pound baby was just a smidge scary and intimidating), how after 24 hours of labor with Owen I failed to progress (only dilated to 3.5) and ended up with a c-section, and that I was already worrying and stressing out about losing fluid, I decided it was best to have the c-section on Wednesday. I felt confident Emmett was ready because he was taking practice breaths during the ultrasound. For me, there were just more things pointing toward a c-section than attempting a VBAC. The c-section had to be Wednesday if I wanted my doctor to perform the surgery because that’s when I would be exactly 39 weeks (you can’t be induced or have a c-section before 39 weeks, unless necessary), and it was the day before my doctor was leaving. Yeah, I could’ve waited and attempted to deliver with one of her partners, but I felt the most comfortable having my doctor perform a c-section than the possibility of another doctor doing it.

I did ask my doctor if I could do things differently with this c-section compared to Owen’s. I told her how I felt Owen’s birth was like a magic trick– one minute he was in my belly and the next minute he wasn’t– there wasn’t the process you get with a vaginal birth. So I asked if they could lower the curtain so I could see Emmett right after he was removed from my belly. She said, “Absolutely, just make sure you mention it to the anesthesiologist.” She also said she could position the surgical lights so I could look in the reflection and watch the whole procedure if I wanted. I also asked if I could hold him as soon as possible. She said they’d need to dry him off, but they’d try to get him to me as soon as possible. I felt so much relief after talking to her about this and more confident in my decision to go ahead with the c-section.

I spent the rest of Monday and all of Tuesday prepping– grocery shopping, doing laundry, cleaning up the house, packing my hospital bag, making arrangements for Owen’s care, etc.

Tuesday night I had a minor breakdown and contemplated calling off the c-section. What if Emmett wasn’t ready? I was essentially evicting him, and it just didn’t feel right. But after a while I calmed down.

I was up until 12:30AM Wednesday morning getting everything together. And then Brad and I were up at 4:15AM to get ready to head into the hospital because I had to be there by 5:30AM– two hours before the c-section.

I snapped my very last bump pic before we left the house. I’m not gonna lie– it was nice being able to go in with a little makeup on and my hair freshly washed and styled.

We got the hospital and went to the birthing center. Upon entering the birthing center, I saw the sign saying kids under 14 weren’t allowed on the floor due to the flu. We had planned for Owen to come to the hospital that afternoon to meet his baby brother so I was crushed when I saw the sign.

While Brad snored away on the couch, the nurses started checking me in and we joked around while they prepped me. For instance, I told them for tasting so bad, they could be put the sodium citrate and citric acid in a more attractive looking vessel. One nurse asked if I’d prefer a crystal goblet.

After my first nurse rolled my vein (ouch) in my hand, my second nurse was able to get my IV started in my arm. Emmett was moving a lot so I took a few videos of his last movements inside my belly.

My doctor strolled in and said, “Morning, sunshine!” I half-jokingly gave her a glare and told her I didn’t know Owen could come to the hospital due to flu policy. She apologized profusely for forgetting to tell me. I told her it was fine, and I’d get over it. It ended up working out for the best anyway.

When it was time, I walked into the operating room and sat on the operating table while Brad waited in the hallway. My nurse told me to sit on the table and put my legs straight out in front of me so the anesthesiologist could start my spinal block. The spinal felt weirder than the epidural I had with Owen. I was so taken back I said, “Um excuse me, I don’t know how to properly convey this but it feels like cold water is coming out of my butt. Is this a normal sensation?” Apparently it is.

They had me lay down, and I pretty quickly lost feeling in my legs. My nurse started cleaning my belly. When my doctor came into the operating room I made sure to mention lowering the curtain so I could see Emmett, and the anesthesiologist said he’d do that for me.

Things felt more relaxed for me this time around in the operating room. I wasn’t exhausted from being in labor for 24 hours. And since I’d done this before, I felt more comfortable talking to my nurse and doctor and asking questions. With Owen, I was nervous and anxious so I mostly kept quiet.

It wasn’t long before they did the pinch test, which I could see in the reflection of the surgical lights, but I couldn’t feel. While I was clearly awake during the procedure, some parts are still fuzzy from the drugs. Once they started, I could hear them snipping something with scissors, and Brad mentioned a smell. I wasn’t actively smelling so I took a sniff, laughed, and said “Ohh, they’re cauterizing. Yeah, I’m just not going to smell.” I didn’t ask my doctor to fully adjust the operating lights so I could totally see what was happening but I could kind of see what they were doing, which I’m okay with in the end because I know c-sections are pretty intense.

The nice thing about the spinal block compared to the epidural was that I didn’t feel nearly as much during the procedure. But then again, Emmett wasn’t jammed down the birth canal like Owen was so they didn’t have to tug as much.

I think my doctor said something like “Here we go”. The anesthesiologist stood up behind my head and started lowering the curtain in front of my face. I heard the nurse who was assisting my doctor say, “Well hi there!” to Emmett. The anesthesiologist fully lowered the curtain as my doctor pulled Emmett out of me. I lifted my head off of the table and saw her holding him. Brad snapped some photos of the moment, and I’m so glad he did because it happened so quickly.

After I got a look at him, he was handed off to a nurse and the anesthesiologist put the curtain back up. My doctor said, “Your kid pooped on me.” I laughed and said, “Understandable. I’m sure it’s traumatic.” Then she said, “Yeah, with those shoulders and chest, I don’t think he would’ve been a VBAC.”

While they worked on stitching me back up there were moments when I felt weird and could feel my pulse in my head. So I just tried to close my eyes and focus on my breathing.

After spending 5 minutes drying off, weighing, measuring Emmett, one of the nurses brought him over to me so I could see him and give him a kiss. I was so thankful for her bringing him over because I didn’t get a moment like that with Owen.

Emmett weighed in at 8 pounds 12 ounces, one ounce less than his brother, and 21.5 inches. So the projected weight from Monday was off by 8 ounces, which they usually say it’s accurate within 10%. But if I had gone to my due date, Emmett most likely would’ve been close to 9 pounds 4 ounces.

After putting Emmett in a diaper and getting all his ID tags on, they handed him off to Brad.

The whole procedure from start to finish took 35-40 minutes.

And I have to say it was a much better experience than my first c-section. Being able to see Emmett immediately after he was lifted out of my belly made a world of difference in feeling more active and present in his birth.

After they lifted me over to a regular hospital bed from the operating table, the nurse asked if I wanted to do skin-to-skin with Emmett. I excitedly said yes. And then anesthesiologist pushed us to our postpartum room with Brad in tow.

Emmett and I spent the next few hours skin-to-skin. I was surprised how quickly he was able to latch and nurse. After some time with just the three of us, we called our parents and told them they could head to the hospital.

Like with Owen, I had an itching reaction to the spinal block medicine. My nurse first gave me Nubain but it wore off after 2 hours. I didn’t want to do Benadryl because it made me so sleepy last time that I was falling asleep mid-sentence. Another nurse said they could give me a bag of Narcan to counteract the spinal medicine, so I ended up going with that, and it worked for the most part. But the next day I noticed that I had rubbed the tip of my nose so much that I had a sore.

Later that afternoon, Emmett got a bath (our hospital doesn’t bathe babies until after they’re 8 hours old).

Later that night, as we were sitting in my hospital room with Brad’s parents, Brad mentioned the date to them– 2/21. I looked at him and said “Oh my gosh, I never thought of the date. How crazy is that?!” I had been so focused on ‘Wednesday’ that I never considered the date, even after signing it on a few documents when I checked in that morning. I’m really into signs so this was pretty amazing and cool to me.

The day after the surgery, I felt like the pain meds weren’t working very well so I was fairly uncomfortable for most of the day. But I felt a little better the next day.

My nurses were great throughout my stay in the hospital. One of my heavenly night nurses would scratch my back whenever she’d come in to check my vitals. I’ll remember those back scratches for the rest of my life.

In regards to Emmett’s name, there’s no real significance or meaning behind it. It’s just a name I’ve liked for a few years, and Brad was on board when I told him it was my favorite option.

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  1. Congratulations! Longtime reader (since you were newly married!) so I loved reading this. What a sweet family you have. xo

  2. That is such a beautiful photo (the last one)

  3. Rachel Steck says:

    I love birth stories!

  4. Congrats! My birth story with my son was very similar to yours with Owen so I can definitely relate. Very traumatizing! Sounds like you had a much more calm and peaceful experience with Emmett! ?

  5. I love hearing/reading birth stories. I am so happy everything worked out so well and that you have a beautiful, healthy boy. 🙂

  6. I’m so glad you had a better birth experience this time. My first birth was so traumatic also & being able to be more in control of things the next time around made such a difference for me. I love that you got to have skin to skin so soon after his birth! He is precious!

    1. Thanks, Holly! Yes, the feeling of having more control– or just having a couple things go our way can make such a huge difference in the overall experience.

  7. Just wonderful! And, that pic of you and Emmett on your chest with your hair splayed out is just gorgeous! Congratulations!

  8. What a wonderful experience for the second time round! I love birth stories too and newborns are just divine!

  9. Pregnant with my first and I loved reading your birth story! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Such an amazing story! Congratulations on your sweet new addition! He is precious!

  11. Joy Bellotte says:

    Thanks for sharing your birthing story as i love hearing them. All so unique and beautiful. Congrats on a healthy baby and glad you are doing well. By the way your hair is absolutely gorgeous.

  12. What a beautiful story! Your comment at the end about the nurses took me back to my labor, and how good the nurses were to me. I returned a week later so my baby could get a one-week checkup and took my two nurses goody bags with some healthy treats, tea, hair ties, and cozy slippers (for their nights/days off), as well as a card thanking them for doing what they do and doing it so well! Congratulations, Emmett is precious and Owen looks so loving, what a dream, he has a best friend for life!

  13. Beautiful – and such amazing pictures. You are so lucky to have such continuity of care throughout your pregnancies. I know it comes at a cost but over here in the U.K., I never saw the same doctor, midwife or health visitor twice during the whole of my two pregnancies or labours. During the 24 hour labour of my first, I had three or four different midwives, none of whom I had ever set eyes on who passed me off from one to the next without a backward glance! It didn’t make for a relaxing birth experience – terrifying would be a more accurate word! How lovely that your Doctor was so concerned and cared so much about how her vacation would affect your experience and you were all able to work around it in a way with which you were comfortable. So happy for you that you have two precious boys home safe and sound. Enjoy every moment of this special time xx

    1. I’m sorry your experience wasn’t as you had hoped– I never knew that about the system in the UK. It’s unfortunate when better and more thoughtful care doesn’t go into the patient and the patient’s experience. Yes, healthcare does come at a great cost here. We still haven’t gotten the bill for Emmett’s birth, but I’m sure we’ll pay at least $5,000 out of pocket.

  14. We have an Emmett too. He’s three. We haven’t met anyone else with that name yet so it was fun to see your Emmett!

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