It’s taken me a little while to sit down long enough (without falling asleep) to gather my thoughts for this post. I thought that this post would be a no brainer, that I would sit down and the words would just flow, but they don’t. Putting the story of my daughter’s birth and the emotions that I felt into words is difficult, but I will try my best.
From the moment we found out that she was a girl, we dreamed about what she would be like, who she would look like, and how she would turn our all boy world upside down. We had been anxiously awaiting her arrival, excited to meet our little girl, our last baby. But nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared us for how hard we all would fall for our sweet girl. She’s perfect to us. I never knew exactly how much I wanted a daughter until I held her in my arms for the first time.
On Monday morning, December 11th, I woke up feeling different than I had my entire pregnancy. I couldn’t really figure out what was “off” at the time, but in hindsight, it’s clear that my body was in the early stages of labor. I couldn’t sleep that morning, so I got up early and got the boys’ things ready, fed them, and loaded up to head to preschool all while having sporadic contractions. They didn’t seem consistent and I was sure that I had until the end of the week, at the earliest, before she was born. After I dropped the boys off, I sent a text to Hannah and our friend Colleen joking that one of them would need to take the boys home if I was admitted to the hospital that day (little did I know, I would actually need them to do that), and then made my way to my 39 week appointment.
I sat in the waiting room for what felt like ages and started having some uncomfortable contractions, so I timed them and realized they were coming every 20 minutes (I was in the waiting room for nearly two hours). When I finally saw my doctor, I swore to him that I was in early labor but when he checked me, I was a whopping 1 cm (the same as the week before). He told me that I probably had a few days to go and then sent me down for a routine ultrasound that turned out to be not so routine. After waiting for another hour and a half, I went in for the “routine ultrasound” to see a baby on the screen who wasn’t moving or “practicing breathing”, so they sent me back up to see my doctor. He was concerned and told me go have lunch next door at the hospital to see if that would get her moving, then to go back for another ultrasound to check her movements. He told me that if she still wasn’t moving much, he would admit me for an induction immediately. So, while I headed downstairs to get food, I called Justin and started texting everyone about what was going on and to be praying.
Justin came and met me at the hospital so that he could be there for the second ultrasound. While we waited, I had an overwhelming sense of peace come over me, and I knew that everything would be okay. As soon as the ultrasound tech put the probe on my belly, our little girl showed us all of her moves! With a sigh of relief, we headed out to get our boys (all the praise hands for good friends) and head home after a seven hour day at the doctor. We did our nightly routine with the boys, all while my contractions got closer together, then got ready for bed. After showering and laying down, things started getting pretty uncomfortable, so I started timing them again and realized that they were jumping around from three minutes to eight minutes apart. Justin told me to text one of my “on call” friends and let her know that she should start heading our way to stay with the boys. Again, thank the Lord for good friends who already had a bag ready to go!
I had to stop for one last bump picture as one does during contractions.
I snuck into the boys’ room to give them kisses when it hit me that Atlee wouldn’t be the baby anymore; cue the tears. I pulled it together and we headed out, but I honestly thought we would be sent home since I was sent home when I was pregnant with Atlee. When we got to the hospital, they got us into an assessment room, got me hooked up to the monitors, checked me, and GUESS WHAT?!? I was…ONE DANG CENTIMETER! Ughhhhhhh. The nurse said she would come back and check me an hour later, so we waited and watched the monitors. I was so upset because the contractions were three to five minutes apart and some were going off the chart on the monitor…”there’s no WAY I am only at one!” Around 11:30, the nurse came back in and asked if I wanted her to go ahead and check me again. I held my breath and watched a huge look of relief come across her face. “You’re between four and five, you’re going up!” Hallelujah and tell the anesthesiologist to meet me upstairs!
They got me in my room and got me hooked up again, and it wasn’t long before the anesthesiologist came in to give me the goods! After the epidural started working its magic, I was able to nap on and off for a few hours, but unfortunately it slowed my contractions down. Thankfully, I had the most amazing nurse who wanted me to be able to avoid pitocin at all costs, so she got to work to try and get baby girl to drop and get my contractions closer together again. Around 4 AM, my doctor came in and checked me and I was only at 6 cm, so he went ahead and broke my water to move things along. After that, I went in and out of sleep again until around 5:45 when I woke up to the most painful sensation in my side and feeling like I was going to puke (which I did…a lot. Sorry, TMI). My nurse checked me and told me that not only was I complete and 10 cm (which was the cause of the pain and puking), but that she could feel the baby’s head!
My body was shaking uncontrollably from the pain in my side and I could not stop throwing up (so glamorous), but it was go time! My doctor and the nurses told me to push the next time I had a contraction, the only problem was that my epidural was working too well so I couldn’t feel my contractions…AT ALL. So, my nurses had to keep their hands on my belly to tell me when to push. Three pushes and eight minutes later, Emery Jane came quietly into the world at 6:13 AM on December 12th! The cord was wrapped pretty tightly around her neck, but after loosening it and moving her around a bit, she let out the most beautiful cry that only a mama could love.
After they checked to make sure her oxygen levels were good, they put her on my chest and the world stood still. Even though my room was full of people and even though I was dealing with some painful and scary afterbirth issues, I didn’t care; I had my girl, my daughter. She started nursing immediately, and Justin and I just stared and soaked in those first moments with her, studying every detail of her little face. We couldn’t believe that she was here and that our family was complete!
This picture was taken in the middle of me experiencing the worst pain I’ve felt in my life and I was out of it, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t letting go of her for anything.
Emery Jane, the last six weeks with you have been nothing short of amazing. We are eyeball deep in sleep deprivation, but we are so in love; all of us. Your big brothers are obsessed with you and want to be around you every waking hour, and your daddy and I stare at you in awe. You filled the missing piece to our family’s puzzle perfectly, and we can’t wait to watch you grow into the person that God made you to be. There are so many people who love you, sweet girl, so many people who pray for you daily and will be there to walk with you through life, especially me and your daddy. We hope you always know how incredibly loved you are, and we pray that you know Whose you are and that you are rooted in His truth all the days of your life. I am so excited to be on this adventure with you, your brothers, and your dad. I am honored to be your mommy, baby girl. I love you more.