emmett richard's arrival

At long last, our sweet boy arrived and is at home! Emmett was born last Tuesday, November 24th, at 10:20am. He weighed 8lbs, 4oz and is 20 1/2 inches long.

My water broke at 6am on Monday morning, and we called the doctor and headed for the hospital. It wasn't my OB's on call day, but her office is in the hospital and she came to see us. She checked my amniotic fluid with a sonogram, which was low, did an exam, and determined I was staying. I still hadn't dilated past 1cm, though, and I wasn't having any steady or strong contractions. She gave me a Cervidil insert, which lasts 12 hours and should ripen the cervix in that amount of time in order to start Pitocin and induce labor. However, after only about an hour on the Cervidil I started having intense contractions, a few minutes apart. A couple hours later, the back labor started, which was far, far more intense and unmanageable. I handled these with Mike's support and by using the shower, the birthing ball and music until about 6pm. By then, I had dilated only about 1/2 cm more and the contractions were 1-2 minutes apart with even more intense back labor. I finally requested an epidural, which they gave me and I felt better and more in control quickly.

The epidural gave me a break, and allowed Mike to get out of the room for a dinner break and some fresh air. However, it was short-lived. The epidural never quite covered the entire area of pain, and I had a spot on my left side that wasn't being hit by the medicine, along with back labor that the epidural couldn't get. My legs remained numb, but they couldn't get the epidural level to rise above that, based on the way my body metabolized the medicine. The epidural runs a continuous drip, but if the pain isn't being managed properly, they will top it off, meaning they push an extra dose directly into the tube. After topping my epidural off several times to no avail, eventually the anesthesiologists decided to take it out and do a second epidural. The exact same process took place. My body just wouldn't respond well to it.

Over the course of the night, I had the two epidurals, as well as 4 or 5 bags of IV pain medication, which don't really take away the pain, but they do make you woozy and delirious so you don't really know what's going on too well. I despise that out of control, delirious feeling but it was the only thing they could do for me. I was so out of control with pain at that point anyway, they had to do something.

I tend to internalize pain, I don't vocalize it, I don't scream or yell when something hurts, I get quiet. So when I tell you that I was screaming and sobbing, you know that I was not handling it. I wouldn't, couldn't breathe, I was sobbing huge vocal sobs, and screaming when the back labor was most intense. To say the pain was torture would be a vast understatement.

I slowly dilated overnight, and at one point went from 5-9 cm in under 2 hours. Then I sat at 9cm for hours. During the evening and night, I had the Monday on call doctor instead of my regular doctor, but my doctor was on call Tuesday and she came in early in the morning, in my room by 7. She was with me except for a couple of brief breaks from then on until I delivered. She could see how strained and worn out Mike was and she told him she'd take care of me and sent him out for a short walk and a cup of coffee to recharge.

She refused to let me consider bailing for a c-section, kept saying I've come too far and been through too much to let that happen unless it becomes absolutely necessary. She wanted me to have a couple of hours of pain free labor, one way or another, to get me the rest of the way before I could push.

The anesthesiologists were called back in to give me a spinal. It was an injection of very strong pain meds directly into my spine to knock out the pain of my belly contractions and the back labor for about an hour and a half. I saw no way I could sit still for the injection, through the incredibly intense pain. But my OB held my hands, talked to me and got me through it. Mike arrived back to the room as they were finishing the spinal, in enough time to help me through a few painful contractions before the spinal kicked in. The spinal knocked me out, asleep, for an hour.

When I woke up, the agonizing pain was back in full force, but I was slightly more in control, and almost ready to push. Mike and the doctor and the nurses got me through the last stretch until I was ready to push. I pushed for only about 35 minutes, before Emmett's arrival! It seemed much longer at the time, but was actually quite short based on the fact that it was my first baby and based on Emmett's size. It was agony to push only during contractions, and to listen to the doctor talk me through it, but it was only through her amazing coaching and expertise that I didn't tear and I have only one very small stitch inside. She never once mentioned an episiotomy, and she forced me to stop pushing and helped me to stretch to prevent any tearing.

Emmett arrived at 10:20am, and we were so excited to find out he was a boy and to give him the name we'd chosen for him. He was placed on my chest, where he stayed for about 15 minutes or so, while they dried him and suctioned him and tried to get him to scream. He grunted a lot and he turned nice and pink, but he never really screamed. They pulled him out the the nursery to check him out, and Mike went with him. He wouldn't scream there either, and ended up being brought to the NICU and put on oxygen, which he had for about 24 hours before he was breathing well on his own.

Due to my being Group B Strep positive and ruptured for 28 hours before birth, along with the fact that Emmett had the cord wrapped tightly around his neck, they wanted to run tests and check him for bacteria also. I stayed in the hospital, in a private room along with Mike, until Thursday. I was discharged on Thanksgiving and we waited in the NICU with Emmett all morning to find out if he'd be coming home with us. They got the results of the bacteria culture back, and it showed bacteria. They weren't going to let him home, he had to stay for antibiotics and to be monitored while they ran another bacteria culture.

Emmett stayed in the NICU until Saturday, November 28th, when the results of the second bacteria culture came back negative. Based on his healthy behavior and look, as well as the shorter tests that had been done inbetween the two cultures, his doctors called the first test a contaminant and declared him healthy. We brought him home on Saturday and have been settling in.

We just got back from his first pediatrician visit, where he was declared healthy, alert, vigorous and perfect. He weighs one ounce more than he did when he was born.

Our only real issue right now is feeding. He's become lazy because of all the bottles he had when he was in the NICU and he refuses to latch on well or often. I am extremely frustrated and am having a really hard time with it. We came home with some tips and ideas from the pediatrician, and we'll give it our best shot. We go back in a week for a weight check and feeding update, and we'll go from there. This is going to be a long week and a definite struggle, but Emmett is perfect and Mike is home with us for the whole week, so we'll enjoy our time together and we'll get through it.

I didn't really intend to sit down and write Emmett's birth story just now, but it sort of flowed out so there you have it! Sorry if it's TMI for some of you. It felt good to get it all out. I guess the only thing left for today is to leave you with a couple of favorite pictures from yesterday and today!


maresi said...

Oh, Amy. That was wonderful to read! You have been THROUGH.IT. I am so glad you're all home, that he had a good peds appt today! I hope nursing will start to get better. I know how frustrating it can be. With Henry I would sit there and cry and cry over him as I tried to get him to latch. I hope Emmett catches on right quick!

Those photos are precious, BTW. I love you! Hope to talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing!
I had a dream last night that you were holding Emmett and he started talking, like real talking, not baby talk. I was so surprised, but you looked at me and very plainly said "he's VERY smart". I know, totally random ... I must have read one of your facebook updates before I went to sleep last night.

Wishing you all the best!

Anonymous said...

Wow..what a story! I totally feel your pain with the back labor..I had it with Zachary for a full 12 hours and they did nothing to make it better for me. You went through a lot for your first baby but boy is he a beautiful little man! I am sure you are so happy to have him home with you and I am so glad he is in perfect health! As for the nursing..I went through it with all three. You just have to keep at it and maybe try different positions for him to be in like the football hold and things like that. You can call anytime..even the middle of the night if you need help with that. I had my hardest time with Melody but once she got it she was a champ and would nurse forever if I let her! Enjoy being home with Mike and Emmett for the week! We all can't wait to meet him! (By the way when Melody looked at the last photo of Emmett she said, "Oh, look he is wearing his December jammies!" LOL)

Meredith said...

what sweet pics!

What an agonizing birth story! Sounds horrible, but when they come out, it kind of melts away (for the most part) I had back labor w/Avery and it was rough, especially with no epi. But, glad you stuck it out!! Good luck with the breastfeeding. It's so hard the first few weeks, but so worth it in the end!

He is just precious!!

Katherine said...

It sounds like you have a FANTASTIC doctor! Wow, she really helped you through all that labor! And good for Mike too, I know the guys don't get much credit, but he certainly earned his daddy badge! We loved looking at Emmett's pictures, and can't wait to see you all in person in a few weeks!

Thais said...

totally a beautifil child!
So sorry to hear you had back lbor - i have heard it is horrendous from several women i work with...good lord you must have been exhausted! I think your story has further cemented my decision to NOT have children! you are toatlly brave,but got a wonderful present at the end of it all!! he looks so happy!

Jennifer said...

Amy I'm in tears!!! That was so beautiful thanks so much for sharing. I am SO proud of you. Your a strong, beautiful, amazing women!!! I'm so proud of you for not caving and having a c-section. Your my hero! Hang in there with the breastfeeding the 1st week is the toughest but if you get through it I promise you will succeed. I'm happy to help you with you it just give a call!

Megan said...

Amy- it was a wonderful story an I am glad you told it. He is beautiful and you did a beautiful job- not tearing with that large of a child! Go woman!

I totally understand frustrating with breastfeeding...my milk never "came in" and I just literally had drips that I would give my son until we weaned- but it worked for us. He took a bottle from week 1 and also took my breast. We used the "Breastflow" bottles- nipples worked very much like breastfeeding...no nipple confusion. You can do it- hang in there!

EDH said...

Congrats, congrats, congrats! I am so thrilled for you!

I had Pitocin and back labor and sincerely hope I NEVER have to do that again - it was so much more excruciating than I thought it would be! Ugh, even 10 months later I'm still not over it. ;)

I was so frustrated with nursing at first - I would just sit up at night and howl because it wasn't working. It was surprising to me how something so "natural" can be so tricky. It certainly doesn't come naturally. If your hospital offers lactation consultants, I'd definitely take advantage - they are wonderful! I hope it gets better soon. Hang in there!

Emmett is gorgeous! YAY!

Michelle said...

Congratulations! You go through a lot being a first time Mom. It won't be long and you'll be an ole pro. Just do what works for you!

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