River Blue was born at 11:07 pm on Sunday June 12, 2016, weighing 7 lbs 7.5 oz and measuring 18.75 in long. The following is the story of how she came into this world, told honestly and with as much detail as I can recall.
River’s Birth Story
It was the night of Saturday, June 11th. Michael, Hadley and I were over at my brother’s place along with my sister, her fam, and our mom. We had been playing around my brother’s virtual reality headset (which is super cool by the way!) and I kept having random lower back pain and occasional tightening in my lower abdomen. My mom and I kept joking that playing with the headset (which actually is a pretty good workout) had sent me into early labor. Of course, I didn’t actually think that’s what it was. But when things didn’t let up by the next morning, I started to wonder.
I woke up the morning of June 12th with the mild cramping and tightening coming about 5-10 minutes apart. I laid in bed with Hadley asleep next to me, timing the contractions. After about 30 minutes, I decided to get up and try to pee. Now, with Hadley, I had woken up on her due date and discovered a slight water leak when I sat down on the toilet. I delivered her 12 hours later. Maybe the same thing will happen this time around?
I went about my business and got a little discouraged when I didn’t feel anything else trickle out. But when I got up, I was in for another kind of surprise. When I turned to flush, I saw a big red glob in the toilet; my mucous plug had come out! At this point, I was really starting to think that this was the real deal! I called triage and told them what I was experiencing and they told me to wait it out as long as I could.
After telling Michael (who had been in the bathroom this whole time) what was going on, he immediately started getting ready and throwing stuff in the car. When the contractions were coming 3-4 minutes apart, we headed for the hospital!
Upon arrival at noon, I was initially told that I was 3 cm dilated but the contractions had stalled. I told the triage nurse I thought for sure I was in labor. She told me to get dressed and walk around for an hour or so, and if I hadn’t progressed after that, they would probably send me home. So that’s what we did. The entire time we were walking, the contractions were irregular and not really painful at all. My back was pretty much a constant dull ache, though.
When we returned to triage around 2:00, I was antsy to see what kind of progress we had made. I closed my eyes as the triage nurse checked me and was shocked as I heard her say, “Huh… you’re at a 5! Let’s get you moved down to a room!” At around 2:30, we finally got all settled. The nurses hooked me up and my contractions didn’t pick up for at least another three hours! In the mean time, my mom had showed up, Michael’s parents came to see us, and Hadley was still in the room. It wasn’t until about 6:00 that my contractions started to get… a little more intense. When everyone had left the room, the nurse suggested I try to sit on the exercise ball to get things moving a little better. And boy, did it work!
As I swayed back and forth, I felt as the contractions changed from mild cramping into full on waves of pain that would come on gradually and then fade away again. After about 30 minutes on the ball, I decided to get back into the bed. At this point, I completely lost track of time, and started to enter my own little “Emma World”. This is what I had called it when I gave birth to Hadley; I was just in the zone, focused, and doing my own thing. I drowned everyone out as I was determined to just get her the heck outta there!
This time, though, something was different. I could tell as soon as the contractions picked up. I was more alert and having a tough time getting into the zone. At around what I’m guessing was about 8:00, the real labor started. I was dilated to about an 8, so I was entering what I believe to be the worst part: transitional labor. I laid on my side and dreaded each contraction as I felt them slowly creep up. The entire time, my back was killing me too, so I had Michael behind me applying counter pressure to combat the pain (a.k.a. digging his palm into my back as hard as he could without breaking his wrist).
The contractions were getting closer and closer. My rhythmic breathing turned into moans, then turned into me literally yowling in pain, until eventually I was literally yelling “Riiiivvvvverrrrr!” with every contraction. I’m not quite sure why, but I’m guessing it’s because I found some sort of comfort in saying her name. I remember the nurse sitting by my side, telling me, “You can do it! You were made to do this! Your daughter will be here so soon and you can hold her in your arms.”
Natural Birth at its Finest
It was 9:30 now. The only people in the room were Michael, my nurse, a second nurse getting everything all set up, and my Mom. Everything was a blur as I weakly pushed through each mind-numbing contraction. I periodically glanced up to look at my mom, who would place her hand on the bar of the bed for me to squeeze. I looked up one of the times to see her removing her rings, probably so I wouldn’t cause them to dig in as I squeezed. Time seemed to stand still, yet the clock kept progressing later and later. It was the strangest thing; I had no real concept of time, or anything really. All I could think about was how much I wanted this baby to be here!
The nurse checked me several times through my contractions. I had been at a 9 for awhile, but there was one piece of cervix still in the way. Practically sobbing, I remember shouting “No! No! No!” every time she would tell me that I wasn’t yet at a 10. “Tell me if you feel the urge to push,” she kept telling me. At this time, although I’m not proud of this, I remember whispering to the nurse that I wish I had gotten an epidural. I never said something like this with Hadley, but this time the pain was so unbearably painful that I was having a hard time handling it. “No, you don’t need that,” she said calmly, “You were made to do this!” Although at the time I could’ve punched someone in the face for saying something like that to me, deep down I knew she was right.
The Doctor is in!
At this point, I was hysterical. I’m talking Hollywood status. I was practically screaming through contractions, pulling my hair and biting my knuckle as hard as I possibly could. All the while, Michael was still behind me rubbing away at my back. At around what was probably 10:30ish or so, I was in such excruciating pain that the nurses finally decided to call the doctor in. He broke my water (which I thought had already happened) to relieve some of the pressure. I felt a gush of warm liquid fill the bed and through all the pain, it actually gave me the slightest bit of relief.
At 10:45, my nurse that had been with me all day told me she was going to leave now and that the other one would be there for me. I felt like we had been through so much, and in my emotional state, I really didn’t want her to leave. But before I knew it, she was gone and the other nurse was now sitting by my side. I was on my back at this point. Suddenly, I had a HUMONGOUS contraction and felt like I was going to poop. I knew better, though, and realized right away that it was baby’s head.
“SHE’S GONNA COME OUT! SHE’S GONNA COME OUT!” I screamed. The doctor then came and checked me yet again, only to look at the nurse and say “That flap of cervix is still in tact.” I fell back onto the pillow and groaned. They let me go through three or four more excruciating contractions before checking me again. Still there. “Noooooooo!” I cried. The next contraction was so bad that I screamed out in pain. The doctor then looked at Michael and told him that he was going to move the cervix so that baby could move further down.
“Get ready,” Michael said, “they’re gonna move it.” As I felt the next contraction coming on, I grabbed the bars to try and pull away as I felt the doctor push that last flap of cervix out of the way. I just remember crying, “No! No! Don’t move it!” and then screaming out in agony when he did. But this time, he didn’t remove his fingers. Michael helped scoot me to the end of the bed and then the doctor told me to push with the next contraction.
River Blue Arrives!
“You’re ready for me to push…now??” I asked in disbelief. The nurse moved my legs up to the stirrups and told me that she wanted me to grab the back of my legs and pull them toward me. With the first push, I felt like we got nowhere. I only pushed for a few seconds then had to rest. I kept trying to pull away (I’m not sure why but this was my natural reflex to what was happening) and they had to keep pulling me back and putting my hands back on my legs. With the next push, I heard Michael say that he could see her dark hair. We were almost there!
Instead of resting, they told me to push again with the next one. I tried, then looked up at Michael as I collapsed onto the pillow. I heard him tell the doctor to let me rest through the next one. But literally a second later, I felt an unbearable urge to push so I grabbed my legs again and pushed as hard as I could. “Yes, yes! That’s it! You’re doing it!” Michael and the nurses – my own personal cheerleaders – kept chanting. Instead of resting, I kept my hands behind my legs and pushed through the next contraction as well. As hard as I could. I could feel her crowning (the “ring of fire” as they call it) and I knew that I was almost there.
All I could think was that it would all be over soon and that the only way to make it stop was to push. So, with one more giant push, I looked down and actually saw my baby’s face coming out! I kept pushing and opened my eyes just in time to see this big blob slide out of me into the doctor’s hands. She was here. I collapsed back onto the pillow as Michael told me, “You did it, Em. She’s here!”
Moments after she was born.
Because she had flipped over at some point during labor, the cord was very loosely wrapped once around her neck. Thank goodness she was okay, though! But I now know why it was so painful- I had heard that the back labor associated with sunny side up babies was exceptionally worse. After they got her cord cut, they placed her on my chest almost immediately and just like that, it was all worth it.
I was so overtaken by happiness that I hardly noticed as the doctor stitched me up – I had torn naturally this time. (With Hadley, I had actually felt when the doctor (not the same one) cut me while I was pushing!) But as I looked down at my beautiful little girl, I was in heaven. She was here. I had brought her into the world. It was what I had waited nine long months for, and now she was finally here with us. I held her for about an hour and even got her to latch on briefly. After that, I handed her off to Michael so we could be moved to the recovery room.
Because she was born so late, we spent most of the night and early morning as a family and took a majority of the pictures the next morning.
Love me some skin to skin!
Proud daddy! 🙂
Hadley meeting her sister for the very first time (and a wild Brodie in the background!)
Although my labor overall was exceptionally more difficult this time around than it was with Hadley (who I also delivered naturally), in the end I have a beautiful, healthy baby girl. And that’s all that matters.
I’m honored to have been the one to bring this amazing little human into the world. There is no real way to describe natural birth; it is something one must experience for themselves. Although it is the most difficult thing I have ever endured, I would do it all over again. No doubt in my mind.
But for now, I’m perfectly content with my two gorgeous gals! ♥Post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.