S: The Birth of Emily Marie White
FC: A baby is something you carry inside | you for nine months, in your arms | for three years and in your heart till | the day you die." ~ Mary Mason
1: Emily Marie White 7lbs8oz 20.5" July 22, 2011
2: Progress | Birth Story: Doula | Liz was having on again off again infrequent contractions for the good part of her Friday afternoon. She decided to go for a walk to try to get things going, and did a thirty minute session on the treadmill. She took a quick shower, and right after this felt a change in her body, that things were in fact getting more serious. Her contractions very rapidly were coming 3-5 minutes apart and were more intense. To Liz, this now felt like the real thing. She called our doula line at 7:04; and we called her back within 15 minutes to formulate a plan for labor. At 7:19 behind the scenes at Get Babied we worked on who could get to the hospital the fastest to ensure we would arrive within the hour of Liz’s request. It turns out that I was the most available, and busted my butt to get home from dinner, grab my doula bag and camera, and get over to the hospital. Megan’s report on the phone conversation with Liz was that she was talking through contractions, no serious discomfort, things were moving along without a sense of urgency at this point. But something was nagging me to drive a little faster to get there, just in case. Liz was a VBAC mom who previously had a very long and difficult labor before her c-section. Second time moms are generally faster at labor the second time around, but I wasn’t expecting Liz to be any shorter than an average 11.5 hour labor give or take a little bit. I arrived at 8:20 to the labor & delivery room, to hear a baby crying, and to see that Liz was working on delivering her placenta. Insane!
3: transition | Liz shared with me that when she showed up to the hospital things were somewhat intense, and she would have been happy to hear that she was 5 or 6 cm. In her triage room while she was waiting for them to check her, she had the urge to make a bowel movement, and the uncontrollable urge to push. Husband Mike pushed a button or something and all of a sudden there were 27 people (number might be exaggerated) rushing Liz to an actual bed so she didn’t have to deliver her baby on the hospital floor (or toilet). According to the labor chart, at 8:03 Dr. Schmitz checked her cervix, and she was 10cm and +3. Dr. Schmitz advised that she just slow down and relax a moment, but little Emily had her own agenda and arrived into this world at 8:18. 13 minutes of not pushing and Liz had her baby in her arms. One small negative about really quick deliveries is that sometimes babies are not able to get all of the fluid squeezed out of their lungs on the way down the birth canal, and this was true for baby Emily. She had a little trouble breathing and was taken to the nursery for observation and for some fluid suctioning. After they removed some fluids, she quickly came around with loud hunger crying! Emily was back to her mother for some skin to skin time and breastfed perfectly on both sides by 10:30. Although those two hours are never fun to be separated from baby, to Liz it was a far cry from the experience she had with her first cesarean birth. Clearly in more ways than one!
4: Progress | luck of the draw | This is the first time that even though I was there within the hour, that I actually missed the birth of a baby as a doula. I remarked tongue-in-check to Liz, after the fact that it was probably because she had a doula that her labor and delivery were so fast. She was so prepared mentally and physically for this birth, she had let go of all her fear and anxiety because she knew that she had great labor support. Liz chuckled but didn’t outright disagree with me. Perhaps she just got dealt a better labor hand this time around – and sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw. But for the sake of my ego let’s go with option A. J Much love to Liz, Mike, and their new sweet daughter Emily. She was welcomed in to this world with loving arms and I hope that you all continue to have many blessings in the wonderful years to come. AS
6: Emily: "Strive to Excel" -Latin "Friendly, tender" -Greek | Six gifts for Emily The first gift is Strength. Your mother is a woman of great strength. She carried you for nine months, and on July 22nd 2011, she mustered all of the strength in her body to labor naturally. Your father is a man of great strength. Your mother leaned on him through all the ups and downs while you were inside her. He was her pillar at your birth. Just a hand to hold can be the greatest strength of all. May you remember to call upon the strength your parents pass down to you whenever you need it. The second gift is Beauty. There was nothing more beautiful than the round abundant belly that you had filled out the day you were born. Except for two things; the beautiful glow of your mother when she held you for the first time at 8:18pm, and a beautiful kiss from father to daughter. May all your deeds reflect this beauty’s depth. The third gift is Courage. Your mother had the courage to believe she could deliver you naturally, peacefully, in a supportive environment. Your father had courage to support your mother on this journey, and the courage to believe in her and push her past any fear and doubt along the way. May you speak and act with confidence and use courage to follow your own path. The fourth gift is Joy. There was nothing more joyful than hearing your cry as you were laid on your mother’s chest, and caressed with your father’s loving hand. May this joy keep your heart open and filled with light. The fifth gift is Reverence. Your mother is to be revered by defying many odds to give birth to you. You were a big healthy baby and lots of things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t, your birth was perfect. May you appreciate the wonder that you are and the miracle of all creation. The sixth gift is Love. You were created in love. You born in love. May love grow in you each time you give it away.
7: The Story of your...
8: Timeline | 10:45am Office checkup, 4cm 90% effaced, membrane sweep 4:00pm 30 minute walk to get early labor more regular 5:00pm Contractions 7 minutes apart 6:30pm Intensity of contractions picks up 7:45pm Arrive at hospital triage 8:05pm Dilation complete, pushing begins 8:18pm Baby Emily Marie arrives!
9: much love from your doula
10: About Our Family | Mom's Story | Emily’s Birth Story Only time will tell how similar or different Noah and Emily will be in terms of personality, looks, etc. But let me tell you from the very beginning little Emily was the exact opposite of her big brother in terms of how she made her entrance into this world. The short version of Noah’s birth story is he was born via C-section after a long 20 hour labor including 2 hours of pushing. Click here for a link to the full details of Noah’s birth. Now flash to Emily. The short version of her birth story is that she came after what was at most 2 hours of active labor. I was fully dilated when we arrived at the hospital and Emily was born after 13 minutes of pushing. Yes, thirteen. As in one-three, thirteen. It was a crazy, wild, mind lowing, fantastic labor and delivery. Seriously I don’t think we imagined in our wildest dreams that we’d end up with that kind of labor story with Emily. Especially after what we went through with Noah. Now for the long version. If you don’t want the gory details stop reading here. You’ve gotten all the important parts. But for our family and for when Emily is older, I want to record every detail so I can tell her about the magnificent way she came into this world. In order to get the full picture of how crazy her birth story is, it’s good to have some of the background info, so I’ll start there. All along we had planned and hoped to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with this birth. I switched OB’s to join a group of OB’s and midwives who were very supportive of this choice and also supportive of natural childbirth which was also something we were hoping to have. We also had hired a doula—a doula is a labor support person who is present all during labor and birth to help support mom and dad and especially helpful in natural childbirth and in having a successful VBAC.
11: vbac | All through my pregnancy there was talk of things we could do to help increase our chances of a successful VBAC-basically how could we change the circumstances of Noah’s birth so we’d have a better chance of avoiding a C-section again with Emily’s birth. With him, there really weren’t many circumstances we could change and the main thing we kept coming back to was hoping we’d have a smaller baby (he was 8lbs 13 oz) and getting this baby into a better position (he was born facing up instead of face down which makes for a tougher delivery). So I tried to watch my weight gain, stayed pretty active and tried to do different exercises to keep Emily in the best position for birth. The other thing we could do is try to get her to come arly-if she came early she’d be more likely to be smaller and usually smaller babies are easier to deliver. Now, there’s really not much controlling that one but I did take some herbs and supplements to help get my body ready and continuing to be active helped with that also. Somehow in all this talk ahead of time of wanting her to come early, I think I’d convinced myself that she really was going to come early. Now anyone that’s had a baby knows they really have a mind of their own and there’s really no controlling the time that they’ll come short of an actual induction. I really wanted her to come early—not because I was uncomfortable (I was, but only a little bit. Thankfully I’d felt really good almost all of my pregnancy) or because I was so tired of being pregnant. But just because I really wanted her to be smaller so we could end up with a better labor and delivery with her. I was ready for her to come at 37 weeks but ok with waiting till 38 weeks. At 38 weeks I was REALLY read for her to come and actually started to get a little discouraged to find myself still pregnant. What if she’s too big? What if like Noah she doesn’t fit and all this planning for her birth was really for nothing? What if I can’t do it? What if...What if...
12: Progress | Waiting... | At my 38 week check-up I was 3cm dilated and 70% effaced (to give you some perspective I was 3 cm with Noah at 37 weeks and stayed that way for 3 more weeks before going into labor with him). In other words my body was really ready for labor, we just needed little Emily to be ready. In hopes of getting things moving I asked our midwife to sweep my membranes. I fully expected to go into labor that weekend. I didn’t. Mike and I enjoyed a dinner and movie date night and as the weekend progressed and I got closer to 39 weeks I started to get more anxious. I prayed about it a lot. And ultimately kept coming back to this: God is faithful. He has been faithful to us in many different ways and situations over and over again. There is no reason He will not be faithful here—even if the timing of her birth is not when I expect it or f she is born in a way other than how I planned. He already knows when and how she will be born-He knew it before He even created her in me. So I kept praying and kept trying to trust Him. On July 22 I was 39 weeks 2 days. For the previous 2-3 weeks I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions every day. ometimes they’d be more frequent than others. Rarely uncomfortable. In the day or two leading up to the 22nd I’d have a few here and there where I felt a little more discomfort in my back but nothing exciting. That morning I was having contractions that were a little more ncomfortable—basically just what felt like a menstrual cramp in my back. There was nothing regular about them. I’d have some that were 10 minutes apart then I’d go an hour with nothing. I didn’t think much of them other than noting that perhaps my body was starting to do some real pre-labor or even very early labor stuff.
13: early labor | I had a check-up that morning at 10:45 was checked and determined to be 4 cm and 90% effaced. I asked the OB to sweep my membranes again and she basically just said call if things pick up. We went home, had lunch, and just in case things did pick up, decided to take a nap. After I woke up, I decided to go for a walk, thinking if these contractions were real then maybe I could kick them in gear with a little activity. I left home around 4pm and did a 30 minute session on the treadmill. When I got home I decided I should start looking at the clock to see if there was any regularity to what I was feeling. At this point it was about 5 pm. Mike had gone to take his turn at the gym. After timing a few contractions I realized we now had a regular pattern that was about 7 minutes apart. Still nothing more uncomfortable that what I would describe as menstrual cramps. Certainly nothing I was too excited about other than being happy to note that maybe we were actually on to something here. We’d been planning to attend a wedding that night at Point of Grace. I showered and started getting ready for the wedding. I gave Mike an update when he got home and he asked if I still wanted to go to the wedding. My response: “Well, I can sit and time contractions at church just as well as I can at home. We might as well go, it will be good to keep my mind of things.” Again at this point I was only mildly uncomfortable. We all kept getting ready for the wedding. Then, just before 630 pm something changed. I thought at the time maybe my water broke. Something happened—maybe there was a small leak. I’m still not sure. Later at the hospital we found out my membranes were still intact so my water didn’t officially break but whatever had happened , it kicked everything into high gear. I went back and looked at the times in my phone to get the exact timeline from there.
14: Progress | hospital | I called my sister at 6:28 pm to tell her we thought my water broke so she should probably start making her way to our house. She was driving from College Station (about an hour and 45 min drive) to be with Noah while we went to the hospital. Mike quickly changed out of his wedding clothes and got a quick dinner for himself and Noah. Thankfully a little earlier he’d made contact with our friend Erin to find out that she was in town and available in case we needed her to come sit with Noah while we waited for family to get here. Meanwhile I was still trying to figure out exactly what had happened. I wasn’t sure my water had broken because it wasn’t a gush like I had with Noah. Just a small trickle but it didn’t keep going. So I started thinking maybe my water didn’t break. Regardless, pretty soon after I started having contractions that were now 3 minutes apart. These definitely felt “real” but still were very manageable. I decided to go ahead and call the OB at 6:51 pm. She called back at 7:01 pm. Even though I’d only been having contractions that were that close together for about 20 min, she said to come on in to the hospital since this was my second baby and things could move quickly. Boy was that an understatement! I called the doula line at 7:04 and told them we were on the way to the hospital. At this point the contractions were more painful but I could still talk through them. We finished gathering our things, Erin and her family got here to watch Noah and just before 7:30 pm we left for the hospital. At this point the contractions were still 3 min apart but were now quite painful and I had to stop, breathe and focus in order to get through them. But I still felt like I was in control and doing a good job of managing by just breathing through them. In my mind there was nothing indicating that I would be delivering our baby in less than an hour!
15: pushing | On the way to the hospital Mike did a great job of trying to encourage me through contractions and asked me a few times if he needed to speed up to get there. I laughed him off and said we had plenty of time, just to get us there safely. We got to the hospital and got up to the L&D floor probably a little after 745 p.m. I’d stopped watching the clock at this point. We checked in and met the on call OB and were sent to one of the triage rooms so they could monitor me and make sure we needed to stay at the hospital. I was given a gown to change into and told to give a urine sample. Standard protocol type stuff. We went into the bathroom to change, etc. but I couldn’t get off the toilet! Contractions wer coming right on top of each other now and I kept asking Mike to put pressure on my back. We were probably like that for 3 or so contractions and then I tried to get up. I told Mike I felt like I had to go to the bathroom, you know, like really go to the bathroom but I didn’t know if I could or really needed to. Then all of a sudden my body involuntarily started to push. WHAT?!? I knew what I was feeling physically and I knew what this meant, but it didn’t match up logically with where I expected to be at this point. I’d been having painful contractions for maybe an hour—I expected to be checked and be around 5-6 cm and have at least a few more hours of labor. Mike joked on the way over we’d have the baby by midnight and at that point even a 4 hour labor sounded pretty fast to me. Mike went out to get help and the room was quickly full of hospital staff. They told me to get off the toilet and I said I can’t. I was helped off the toilet and into the bed as the doctor was saying “you have to get up, you can’t have your baby on the toilet or the floor”. I was still thinking yeah, right—this baby is not coming out yet. Well sure enough my body knew what it was doing even if I hadn’t figured it out yet. I was officially checked at 8:03 pm and determined to be complete with my water still intact. The doctor told me if I could try to relax and not push (yeah right!) we could get moved from the triage room into a delivery room where there was a warmer for the baby and the equipment needed to help deliver her. They rushed me from the triage room to the delivery room and according to hospital records I started pushing at 8:05 pm. After thirteen minutes of pushing (probably a few of which were spent trying NOT to push), Emily Marie came into the world at 8:18 p.m.
16: Progress | doula | Emily was delivered so quickly that we both had some small issues right after she was born. She didn’t get squeezed out because she came through the birth canal so quickly so had swallowed a lot of fluid and had a little trouble breathing. She went to the nursery for a short stay and after suctioning out an amount of fluid that was twice the capacity of her little stomach, she was breathing perfectly! Meanwhile I was having some issues with bleeding which was eventually controlled. We were both determined to be healthy and were reunited by about 10 p.m. Ame, one of the doula’s from our Get Babied! Doula collective, joined us just after Emily was born. Our labor and delivery had happened so quickly that she didn’t even make it there for the birth which was a first for them! We’re so thankful for her presence though because it allowed Mike to go be with Emily in the nursery while Ame stayed with me while they were trying to fix me up. That was not a fun process, honestly it was as painful if not more painful than delivery, and it was great to have a hand to hold while going through that and also be able to get updates from Mike (gotta love cell phones!) on Emily’s progress in the nursery. I’ll admit there was a teeny tiny part of me that was a tiny bit disappointed that we didn’t get to have Ame help us with labor support and have the whole doula experience, but I’m much more thankful for the super short labor instead!
17: faithful | It took me several hours to recover mentally from the shock of all that had just happened. I said over and over that I was just in disbelief and shock that seriously, that just happened TO ME! We had hoped and prayed for a better outcome with this labor and delivery but never in our wildest dreams did we expect what we got. Wow! This verse which we’ve used often at Point of Grace comes to mind: Ephesians 3:20-21 “20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” This was certainly more than we asked or imagined for the birth of our daughter! The conversations that took place with the on-call OB and hospital staff after Emily’s birth were pretty amusing. The OB asked some more details about what my contractions had been like earlier in the day. I really got the impression that she thought we labored at home and purposefully waited to come to the hospital until the last minute. She said at one point she thought I’d been in labor all along and I was just denying it a little bit. Uh, no. That’s not it. I wanted to be in labor! It just didn’t feel like it. Plus, if you look at the instructions they give you on when to call the OB and start thinking about going to the hospital (when contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting at least 60 seconds, for at least an hour), I called way before we got to that point—I’d only been having close contractions for 15-20 minutes when I called. If I’d waited till I’d followed their directions Emily would’ve been born at home or somewhere along Mopac en route to the hospital. Oh, and since she was the on-call doctor she didn’t know my history. Somehow, even though they’d been sent twice, my medical records weren’t at the hospital. She didn’t find out until after Emily was born that I’d had a prior C-section. She asked my some question (I forget the details) about my first birth and my response was “My son was born by C-section”. She stopped what she was doing and stared at me. “What? You didn’t mention that on the phone!” I repeated myself. “Oh wow, I’m glad you called when you did I don’t usually like VBAC mom’s to labor at home very long.” Yes, and again—we called as soon as things started happening. And answering all the admission questions—Do you consent for treatment? Here are your options for anesthesia. Did you have a birth plan you were going to give us? Etc. Etc. All hilariously moot points when you’re answering questions and being informed of your options AFTER the baby has been born.
18: Progress | birth story: dad | We had a Dr’s appointment on 7/22 around 11am and saw a new doctor for what would be Liz’s last pre-baby exam. The doctor thought Liz was 4cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby was at 3400 grams. She stripped her membranes and we were on our way home. Liz was doing well and having intermittent contractions that she said were not too painful. We were pretty sure that we would have the baby some time that weekend and we gave family a heads up. We got home and all took a nap. I am not sure if we knew the sleep was necessary preparation for what was ahead or just a good idea. We got up from the nap and Liz went to walk at the gym for 30 minutes around 4:15pm. There was still nothing too unusual and the contractions were not that bad. After she returned, I decided to go to the gym around 5. The entire day we were discussing the potential on-call people to watch our 3-year old, Noah, and most were out of town. I checked with Erin Jay, while at the gym, and she had just returned from Florida. I told her to be on-call, since I thought the baby could come in the next 24 hours. I returned before 6 and we were planning to get ready for a wedding that night at 7pm. We had a friend bringing some baby gifts from church over at 6:30. We were cleaning up and preparing to go when Liz had some type of discharge. We quickly decided to skip the wedding,
19: early labor | Contractions increased, but from observing Liz, were not immediately unbearable. She was able to talk through them while speaking with the doctor and doula. The doctor advised us to come in immediately. At that point, I asked Erin to come over, changed out of wedding clothes and we both ate something quickly. It became a calm chaos at home, in trying to watch Noah, contact people (doc, doula, family, Erin), and begin loading things for the hospital. I figured I should let someone know at the wedding that we would not make it---I texted out Pastor’s wife, Dawn, and told her we wouldn’t make it and were heading to the hospital. Knowing that I joke a lot, she responded’Yeah right!’ I responded with, ‘No seriously, we are heading there and family is on the way to meet us!’ After that, the word travelled quickly at the wedding and I began receiving text messages from people. From 5-10 minutes before 7pm, Liz’s contractions intensified and she was unable talk or walk through them. I felt torn between taking care of Liz, Noah, and making sure we were ready to go. We were loaded in less than 30 minutes and Erin and her kids arrived just after 7. We left at approximately 7:20 for the hospital. While in the car, Liz’s contractions were 3 minutes apart and 1 minute in duration. I asked if I needed to speed, as to not have a baby on the toll road, but neither of us felt the need. Liz called her family and quickly passed the phone to me while a contraction came on. I filled the 1-minute gap with her mom and quickly passed the phone back to Liz. After that, Stephanie from the doula collective called back and we said we were on our way to the hospital. We arrived at North Austin Medical around 7:40 and spoke with a couple security guards out front. He suggested that we drop Liz at the curb and I park the car---Liz confidently said she could walk from the parking lot, not knowing Emily would appear within 30 minutes! As we parked, another contraction hit and Liz leaned on me in the parking lot to get through it. We slowly walked to the door and one of the guards, grabbed a wheelchair, met us at the curb, and helped us up to the 2nd floor.
20: Progress | triage | We were admitted upstairs around 7:45pm and sent to a triage room for Liz to change into a hospital gown and give a urine sample. The floor was extremely quiet and calm at this point, but that would quickly change. Liz fought through a few contractions and made her way into the bathroom. Once on the toilet, Liz realized that she had to go to the bathroom, which was quickly interpreted as her body telling her to push. She suggested that I get the doctor. I hustled out to the admission station and told the doctor that Liz felt like she needed to push. At that point, it was like someone kicked an ant hill and people began coming out from everywhere to attend to Liz. It was just about 8pm, as the doctor and I returned to the bathroom and had to talk Liz off the toilet. The phrase that got her was from the doc---‘You need to get off the toilet, because you don’t want to have your baby on it!’ We moved her into the triage bed and the doc checked her out. She was fully dilated and she could feel the baby’s head! At that point, it was the doctor and I, 3-4 nurses and other medical staff all moving quickly around the room. The doc told Liz to refrain from pushing, so we could actually make it to a delivery room. We wheeled her down the hall into a delivery room and even more people continued to come into the room. There were 8-10 people in the room prepping to catch our baby girl!
21: delivery | Once we were settled in there, the doc gave the green light to push and this began about 8:05pm. I still never thought this would happen so quickly! After a couple pushes, I saw the ridge of Emily’s head---the shape was unusual and a little bit frightening at first, because it looked so unusual. Heads are supposed to be round and this was nothing close to round! They brought in some olive oil and continued to coax Liz in getting Emily out. The doc made a comment in between pushes that Liz’s toe nails were painted so nicely---sort of funny, sort of inappropriate, but I liked the confidence and light-hearted nature of the doc and team! A few more pushes and most of her head was out. I balanced supporting Liz and peaking at the baby coming out. After a few more pushes she came all the way out---since Noah was a C-section, this was my first live delivery. It was amazingand weirdscary is not the right term, but there is always a voice in your head of wondering if everything is right. You feel so out of control and just had to trust the team that I met 30 minutes ago. They clamped the cord and took her to the warmer to suction her, wrap her, and clean her up. I sent texts to family and a few friends who could not believe how quickly this happened! Liz and I shared in some congratulations, kisses, and words spoken to each other. We were both amazed at how quickly this progressed and were ecstatic, especially after the marathon with Noah. I then went back and forth between Emily and Liz, trying to be in two places at once. Emily was having a little trouble breathing, which plays with your mind a little, but again, the team was calm, so I figured everything was good. Liz was still being tended to as they began to deliver the placenta. At that point, Ame from the doula collective arrived! She was extremely helpful in being there with Liz, so I could go with Emily to the nursery. Once the placenta was delivered, Liz was able to hold her for a few seconds and then they took Emily to the nursery. She was having trouble breathing and was wheezing a little and not crying as strongly as they desired. On the way to the nursery, she spit up a little and had so much fluid in her stomach it was pushing on her lungs.
22: Progress | reunited | At the nursery, the nurse sucked out 14ml of fluid from her stomach---about twice the size of her stomach! Once that was out, her O2 sats increased rapidly to 100%. Liz and I were texting and calling each other with updates of each patient’s progress. I was with Emily in the nursery for about 30 minutes and then returned to Liz. They were still working on Liz a little, as her uterus was not cooperating. Emily returned to the room around 10pm and we were took some family pictures and filled out consent forms. The staff was great and everyone exuded competence and calmness, which was great! We gathered up our stuff, our new family member and headed to the post-partum room just before 11pm. We were glad we napped and at how quickly everything happened, because the night ahead would be rough! We were anxious about timing, but everything went perfectly and all the right people were available at just the right time!
24: The Story of Emily: To Be Continued | So, that’s our story of how little Emily came into our family. It was a whirlwind and though we are SO thankful for the way she entered our world, we are even more thankful that she is here, she is healthy, and she is ours. Welcome Emily! We already love you so much and are so glad you are here!