As you may be able to tell from the title of this post, this isn’t your typical recipe today! I documented both of the boys birth stories and I love having them to go back and read, so I wanted to do the same with Emma. While the overall story of her birth isn’t too crazy, the circumstances around it definitely are. Emma was born in the middle of the COVID-19 global pandemic and there were a lot of unknowns going into her birth.
I wasn’t sure if I’d have to wear a mask while laboring, if I’d have to be tested for COVID prior to delivering, what would happen if I tested positive, if I’d be able to have visitors or even Marc there, and if he’d have to be tested. Given all of these unknowns, I wasn’t too stressed about it. I figured whatever happened would happen and all that I really cared about was coming home with a healthy baby.
I pretty much went into labor right “on time” with the boys, so I wasn’t expecting it to happen any differently this time around. Even though she was sitting super low, I was 2-3 cm dilated, and I was having other signs that labor might be starting, I just figured I would still go well into the 39th week until real labor started.
Emma, however, had other plans. On May 3, at 38 weeks and 3 days, I woke up around 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom, and noticed some low back pain that felt contraction-like. I’m pretty sure that if this had been my first baby I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. Since it wasn’t, and I knew what contractions felt like, I stayed awake to see if they were somewhat consistent. They were and they weren’t.
The contractions were 5-10 minutes apart but relatively short – between 30 and 45 seconds long. Still, I was pretty sure it was happening. I woke up Marc around 5:30 told him what was going on. I kind of expected things to pick up a little faster, but they pretty much kept on at that pace for the next few hours. They were maybe getting a little closer together, but still not 1 minute long, and the typical rule of thumb is to head into the hospital when contractions are 1 minute long and 5 minutes apart.
I called my OB to see what she thought, and she told me to head into the hospital. She said since it was my third baby and I was already 3 cm dilated at my last appointment, she was confident I’d be admitted. It was baby time!
My mom was in town, so she stayed with the boys, and we headed into the hospital around 10:30 a.m.
Immediately upon entering the hospital’s Mother Baby Center, we were given masks. We didn’t get to pick which one we got and mine had Looney Tunes on one side and pigs with “I Love Bacon” on the other. I’m definitely keeping it for Emma’s baby book!
After getting into the Maternal Assessment Center the nurse checked and I was still “3-4 cm” dilated. Again, since it was my third baby and it would likely happen faster than the past, they admitted me even though I wasn’t officially 4 cm dilated.
We got settled into our hospital room and the next couple of hours were spent enduring more contractions, which were coming more consistently and over a minute long. I kept my mask on whenever the nurse or doctor came into the room, but when it was just the two of us, I took it off.
A couple of hours later, the nurse came in to check me and I was 4-5 cm dilated and completely effaced. The doctor came in a bit later and gave me the option of breaking my water which would likely speed things up quite a bit. I was very into this option, along with an epidural prior to breaking the water. If I waited for the epidural until after my water was broke, labor would probably happen too quickly to have one.
So the anesthesiologist came in and got the epidural going. This was pretty straight forward and uneventful and very much like when I had one with Soren. A bit later, the doctor came in and broke my water. There was meconium in the amniotic fluid, which meant there was going to be an additional group of nurses in the room when I delivered in case the baby had swallowed any. This happened with Soren too, so I wasn’t too worried or surprised by this.
Anyways, the doctor was right – after they broke my water, things progressed quickly! Not much later when she (or the nurse? I can’t remember…) came to check me, I was 9 cm dilated. She said they would come back in 15 minutes and likely start pushing.
About 10 minutes later I definitely started feeling the urge to push, so she gave me five more minutes and then it was go-time! It was around 3:55 and I remember looking at Marc and saying – “do you think she’ll be here by 4:15?” which was only 20 minutes away. It seemed so surreal!
The urge to push was starting to become really difficult to ignore, so I told the nurse I was definitely ready. They gave me the green light to start pushing, so I used the contractions as cues to push and started. Again, I was wearing my mask this entire time but it didn’t bother me at all. I was focused on pushing and meeting our baby. This part is pretty fuzzy to me, but it was only 2-3 pushes and she was out!
She looked great and didn’t need to be assessed by the extra team of nurses that came in, and she was immediately placed on my chest. This was truly the best feeling in the world to have our healthy, beautiful baby in our arms.
One thing that was different this time around was that I wanted to cut the cord. With our first two babies I let Marc do it and for some reason, I wanted the chance to do it this time around.
The nurses left the room and gave us the next hour to bond with her. She latched immediately, which is always so amazing to me that babies just know what to do when it comes to nursing.
After staring at her and spending some time together with just the three of us, we FaceTimed with some of our immediate family since we weren’t allowed visitors. They actually got to meet her sooner than they would have if we had been able to have visitors, which was kind of fun!
While the no-visitors rule was kind of a bummer, it was also nice to have the first 24 hours with her all to ourselves. After our Face Time visits, we spent a good amount of time holding her and more staring at her.
Overall, it was a pretty straight-forward birthing experience, beyond the extra precautions because of COVID. After the 24 hour tests were done the next day, we booked it out of the hospital and headed home so her brothers could meet her!
We have been settling in as a family of five and the last six weeks have been incredible and challenging all at the same time. I’m hoping to do a 2 month update in a couple of weeks so stay tuned!