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I had had a particularly stressful day Thursday. It started out okay with a chiropractor appointment and a manicure, but I was swamped with dealing with people from hospice for Granny, arguing with insurance over prescription coverage and all of her new equipment was being delivered that evening - hospital bed, geri-chair, lift, portapotty, etc. Around 530 I was in the kroger pharmacy trying to pick up Granny’s medication and was on the phone with hospice because the pharmacy wasn’t sure if they could cover it, and of course no one was in the office, etc. I was having some braxton hicks contractions and was so frustrated I was in tears and kept saying “This better not be early stages of labor because I don’t have time for this!” haha. Ben was in Atlanta that evening, and I was trying to get someone to come and pick up Granny’s bed and dresser since it was moved to our hallway and completely blocking everything. I got Lily and Granny to bed and then Ben came home and I posted an ad on craigslist that anyone could have the furniture for free but they had to pick it up that night, and thankfully there was an overwhelming response and someone was there within an hour to haul it away. So around 10, Ben and I laid in bed and watched an episode of Mad Men on the ipad and went to sleep. Labor was not at all on my mind.
I woke up an hour or so later at 12:45AM when my water broke. I was realy surprised that that was the ‘start’ of my birthing time. With Lily, my water never broke and when the OB tried to break it in the hospital nothing happened - I never had a big gush or slow leaks or anything at all. So I was completely SHOCKED at the amount! Our entire bed was soaked. Thank God that didn’t happen in public, haha. I hobbled over to the toilet totally gushing and called out to Ben to wake him up. He was so surprised! I told him I was going to hop in the shower and asked him to run down the hall to Granny’s room and grab me some of her depends. Thank God for those things! haha. Not the most attractive but certainly very efficient! Apart from the spontaneous rupture of my membranes, I wasn’t having any pressure waves (what I call contractions) so I was ready to get myself cleaned up and do any last minute things and relax a bit before the show started! Ben, on the other hand, went into “dad mode” and started running around the house like a chicken with his head cut off, unsure of what to do, haha. We have talked about this many times before, how there’s no need to rush to the hospital just because your water breaks, and that its best to labor at home and let things pick up and be in your own comfortable environment where you aren’t at risk of infection from cervical checks, or put on a clock, etc. I was completely calm but it was as if everything we had talked about went out the window for him. After taking a shower, I threw a few last minute things in my bag, wrote out a thank you note to the nursing staff that would be caring for us at the hospital, picked out Lily’s outfit for when she met her brother for the first time, and wrote out a few notes to my mom and mother-in-law with care instructions for the dogs, Lily and Granny. I called my mom to let her know things were happening and we’d call her when we were ready for her to come over.
note: Both for preparation for Lilys birth and Emmett’s, Ben and I practiced hypnobabies. Its a home-study hypnosis course that focuses on positive thinking and really mentally shifting expectations of birth. I reprogrammed my brain to not think of things in negative terms... like pain was pressure … contractions were pressure waves, etc. The study materials are mostly scripts you listen to or your birthing partner reads aloud to you.
Ben asked if we could do a fear cleansing session, which is one of the hypnobabies tracks that helps your mind come to terms with whatever you’re tense or worrying about and then push it away. That sounded like a great idea, so after changing all of the bedsheets, lol, we laid down in bed and put on the hypnobabies track. Ben was snoring within minutes!
Around 4 am things had started to pick up, and we had a decent drive to the hospital (about 45 minutes without traffic) so I was thinking we should probably contact the midwives and get on the road soon. I called Intown to let them know we were coming and I called my mom to come over for Lily and Granny. We left around 4:30AM.
The drive wasn’t bad, it was dark and I had my headphones on listening to my ‘birthing day affirmations’ track and kept my eyes closed the entire time. We parked and Ben carried in all of our stuff while I walked in to the hospital, still listening to my hypnobabies. There was a woman who worked there who offered to let us in via the ‘short cut’ so we followed her, but she was in a hurry and I had to stop and focus through pressure waves, so she wound up going ahead without us and Ben and I had to turn around and walk all the way back to the main entrance. We got there and it was locked. It was 5:17 and the door said it opened at 5:30. I was willing to just sit there and wait, haha... I didn’t want to go wandering around looking for a way in. Thankfully a security guard saw us and let us in. We headed up to the 7th floor and Ben filled out the paperwork while I continued to focus on my hypnobabies and work through some pressure waves. That was 5:30 and they took us into an L&D room to be admitted.
The view from our room:
Before they “allowed” me to be free to move around and labor as I pleased, they wanted to get me and baby on the monitors so they could see how his heart rate was handling my pressure waves, etc. So we get into the room and I’m hooked up and the intake nurse starts having me sign consent paperwork and asking all of these questions. Ben did a lot of the talking while I continued to listen to my hypnobabies stuff and I would sign or answer as needed. The nurse was great about waiting for me to get through a pressure wave before proceeding. When preparing for my birthing time, I envisioned how I wanted things to go. I planned to be at least 7cm when they first checked me when I got to the hospital. I was very happy when I got there and found out I was 7 or 8 centimeters dilated! Now, my blood pressure has thankfully been pretty good this whole pregnancy although it had been creeping up toward the end. The air in the room wasn’t working properly so it was very hot (ironically enough we had this same issue when I gave birth to Lily!) and I was having a pressure wave and dry heaving when the blood pressure cuff went off... so no surprise I got a high reading! With that said, if my blood pressure was high they weren’t going to let me in the tub! So I laid on my left side and just prayed my BP would come back down so I could get off the monitors and into the water! Thankfully, it did!
The tub was partially full when I got off the monitors and was ready to climb in. My midwife, Margaret was aiming the hose at the exact right spot on my back and the water felt so good! She had Ben take over and he didn’t have the same special touch and the water splashing just irritated me, lol. But I continued to listen to my hypnobabies tracks as I worked through the pressure waves, and honestly everything was great. I just kept listening with my eyes closed... and I didn’t want to move or change position in case that would cause me to “lose control” so I just stayed still and silent. As a pressure wave came, I focused on keeping my hands and face totally relaxed and would just breathe and think “opennnn” and envision my cervix opening. I got in the tub around 7AM and not too long after that I felt my body start pushing on its own. I actually didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid that they would want to check my dilation, or have me move positions, or call extra people into the room. At the time it was just Ben and my midwife. So I said nothing and just let my body push on its own... and I kept my eyes closed and just silently allowed my body to push Emmett down.
This is me pushing; he was crowning:
My midwife noticed and asked if I was ready to push. At that point I wasn’t noticing any pressure waves but I was excited to meet my baby so I decided to give it a go and began to push. I really should have reached down to feel him because I genuinely had no idea he was crowning. I pushed and then I flipped over on my back a little... and my midwife was saying “he’s right there!” and I honestly didn’t believe her or really ‘hear’ her. But I kept on, and after about ten minutes of pushing, Emmett was born in the water and my midwife caught him!
Ben’s first comments were “he’s huge! and he looks just like me!” haha. I had no idea he was just shy of ten pounds. I certainly felt bigger while pregnant and strangers weren’t afraid to say so... but a nearly ten pound baby?! It took a minute for him to breathe/cry after he was up and then I just held him in the water while we waited for the cord to stop pulsating. I was actually uncomfortable sitting in the water and was anxious to get out by that point. The cord wasn’t super long so keeping his body under water and his head out was kind of a challenge, and by that point I was just feeling uncomfortable. He was rooting around but there just wasn’t enough cord to try to nurse him still in the water, so he had to wait. Soon the pulsating stopped and Ben cut the cord and walked him over to be weighed and measured while I got out of the pool to deliver the placenta and be stitched back together.
Emmett Murphy was born on August 17th, 2012 at 7:41AM and was 20 inches long. His birth weight is unknown. The scale they weighed him on was having trouble reading and they recorded it at 9 pounds, 1.5 ounces. But 11 hours later when they weighed him again he weighed 9 pounds 12 ounces... and they tried him on two different scales then. Since babies lose weight the first few days, I’m going to claim “just shy of ten pounds” as his birth weight.
I only had second degree tears, but because of the unnecessary episiotomy (that I never consented to!) with Lily... I tore in multiple directions. My midwife said it was a “tricky repair” and called a younger midwife in to observe. It took over an hour to stitch me back together and that was honestly the very worst part. My midwife told me to put my hypnobabies back on and try to relax because it was that bad. But I’m happy to report the recovery hasn’t been as difficult as it was with Lily.
Overall I’m very happy with my waterbirth experience and super thankful for hypnobabies because it made things so much easier. I can honestly say that my birth was intense but not painful. Though my birth experience with Lily was also without pain medication, I did have other interventions due to pre-eclampsia, and I can say that being able to do this naturally in the water without being stuck to a bed, or monitors, or an IV was SO nice.
12:45AM Friday- water breaks
3am - pressure waves start
4:30am - leave for hospital
5:30am - admitted to L&D
7am - get in pool
7:30am- begin pushing
7:41 - Emmett was born
Saturday late morning - discharged
Tuesday - admitted to NICU for ten days for difficulty breathing