Emma was due on September 29th. I was pretty convinced we would last until the due date to be induced like we were with Claire, so when I started having contractions on Michael’s birthday (September 15th), I assumed they were Braxton Hicks and proceeded to spend the majority of my labor in denial. It wasn’t until I started getting fearful that a) baby #2 would be a freeway baby or b) we would arrive at the hospital too late for the epidural, that I finally caved and told Michael I think it’s time to go.
Tiny House Labor
The contractions on Michael’s birthday started in the morning but then subsided during the afternoon. We were spending the weekend in a tiny house for Michael’s birthday and I remember waking up on his birthday on our futon bed feeling like I had just gotten the best night of non-mom sleep in a while (Claire was at home with a babysitter) and feeling so happy to be waking up in a tiny home. It’s a good thing that was a good night’s sleep because it would be the last for the foreseeable future.
That evening the contractions resumed, this time with greater intensity. I texted a friend who’s water had broken slowly without her knowing it to reassure myself I wasn’t experiencing the same thing. Perhaps it would have been wise to go to the hospital at that time but I ended up laying on the futon and just dealing with the contractions all night. I might have slept a few winks but was mostly woken up at somewhat regular intervals by the contractions. I had downloaded an app to track my contractions by this point but didn’t have quite enough evidence that it was time to go.
After our first induction with Claire, Michael and I were somewhat leery that our hospital might be slightly induction-happy, and didn’t want to go to the hospital only to be kept for delivery even if it wasn’t truly baby time. There was also the birthday-sharing issue to consider. I didn’t want to go to the hospital prematurely and cause Michael’s birthday to never be his own again unnecessarily. Well, we made it so that their birthdays are one day apart at least!
The thought definitely crossed my mind that we might be buying these nice tiny home owners a replacement futon cushion if my water happened to break. Fortunately that never happened and we were able to hit the road for our own home at checkout time on September 16th.
I had chosen this destination with distance from our hospital in mind. While it was 50 minutes from our house, it was only 30 minutes from the hospital. As we made our way past the hospital, I was continuing to log contractions. Although I wanted to believe I had packed for our weekend getaway with baby delivery in mind, I never actually looked at my list before we left and I was missing some key delivery ingredients. Like my Brest Friend Pillow for breastfeeding and cute ski socks for delivery. So at the potential risk of ending up as a freeway baby story and with Michael’s encouragement that we would be okay, we proceeded home.
More Labor at Home
Once at home, I figured I just needed to rest for a bit and the contractions would go away. Ha! Lying down did absolutely nothing for me but confirm that they were getting more painful. I finally decided to call my doctor’s office and spoke to the on-call nurse. She asked me a bunch of questions and was quite calm and reassuring that it wasn’t time to go yet. However, she informed me that, although rare, there was a possibility that babies could be born in the sac and that I might never get that water-breaking moment to signal that it was hospital time. That pretty much did it for me. I couldn’t imagine what we would have to do roadside if I gave birth to a baby still in the amniotic sac and decided we should probably get going.
I went downstairs and told Michael I thought it was time. He called back our babysitter, while I became increasingly theatrical about how much pain I was in. I remember I had just written “38 Weeks” in chalk on my sign before we left for the weekend, and figured I would have time to take that week’s pregnancy photo in the coming days. I also got a cute idea that since Michael had just turned 39, the following week I could have an arrow pointing at me for 39 weeks and one pointing at him for 39 years. Cute, right?
And then I thought we could do the same thing for 38 years and pretend we took it right before his birthday. So he said to me “If you still want to do something cute with that sign now is the time”. This was during a contraction, as I am leaning on the shelf where the sign was sitting for support. I could barely speak during the contractions, but finally I just said very meekly “I just need someone to help me.” Cute photos were no longer my priority.
When our babysitter mercifully arrived to take over Claire (who was napping through all of this, thankfully), we hit the road again. It was hard to believe that night when we were in the delivery room that we had just been in our tiny home getaway that morning.
We checked into the triage area, an experience so not like on TV. The checkin nurses were very nonchalant about how much pain I was in. I could definitely have used a wheelchair but I guess this was not the time.
I was about 6-7 centimeters when the nurse finally checked me, and she said “I guess you’re gonna have a baby tonight!” As much as I should have realized that I was in actual labor, there was still a part of me that was in denial up until that point. I was honestly still in shock that this person believed I would be delivering a baby today, 2 weeks before my due date. That was not the plan! But I guess Baby Girl Moore had other plans.
As our second nurse was wheeling me (now appropriately in a wheelchair) from triage over to delivery, I guess it suddenly hit me that this was acutally happening today. There was a sweet nursery rhyme display on the wall with pictures of a stork as we rounded a corner and I couldn’t help myself but to start to cry. I was just overwhelmed at that point. It was a mix of contraction pain, slight disappointment that I wouldn’t be getting my last 2 weeks of my pregnancy off work to myself to finalize things, and a hint of shock that this was happening now.
We didn’t even have a name picked out! But our nurse was really sweet and talked to us the whole time. We suggested that Emma was the name we were leaning towards, but that I thought it might be too common. I think she said she didn’t personally know any Emmas, or asked if we did or something, and helped me realize that Emma wasn’t a common name in our world. One more point for the name Emma!
I was super concerned about getting the epidural in time. There was some suspense about the anestesiologist being in surgery and having to wait for my lab results, but eventually he was my hero and got to our delivery room. It was the same doctor as I had with Claire which I found reassuring because I trusted him just based on his presence in the room the first time around. Seeing him was just about the best thing I had seen all day! As I went through one of my last contractions that I had to feel and he was prepping for the epidural, I said “I think I’m done having kids” and he said “Ya, no one ever says that.”
Finally a Peaceful Labor
I just can’t say enough how happy, relieved, relaxed, calm, peaceful I felt once that epidural set it. That was the feeling I remembered from my labor and delivery with Claire. I had to get antibiotics for the delivery and that kind of slowed things down because they needed to space out 2 doses separated by 4 hours before I delivered. This was perfectly fine by me because I knew the sleep deprivation we were in for that night, and subsequent nights. I was happy to just sleep in my hospital bed as much as possible during that time. I was woken up by the automatic blood pressure cuff at regular intervals, but it was a welcome trade off to being woken up by the discomfort of regular contractions.
Unfortunately my doctor who delivered Claire wasn’t the on-call doctor that night. Dr. Tamala was Emma’s delivery doctor. We saw her a few brief times before delivery for the discussion about antibiotics and when she came in to break my water. We just enjoyed our last moments of peace and quiet leading up to the delivery. White Christmas lights set the mood to calm in the room, and Michael’s mini-Keurig made the room smell like coffee and home everytime he brewed a cup.
Michael snuck me a couple crackers we had brought when I wasn’t supposed to be eating which I was so incredibly grateful for. Those two crackers carried me through! One of the funniest things to me that day was when we were still at home and had made the call to go to the hospital. Michael was eating everything in sight! A steak we had leftover from the weekend sticks out in my mind among other random things, but for a guy who doesn’t eat much I didn’t know where he was putting it. I understood what he was doing, but it was just hilarious to me because it wasn’t like he wouldn’t be allowed to eat once we got into the delivery room. But he just wouldn’t out of support for me, which was very sweet. So he made sure he got in his next few meals. I was in too much discomfort by that point to care very much about eating. So I had a few crackers with cheese but just couldn’t load up like he did. Ha!
When we started getting towards the end, I remember my nurse telling me to call her if I felt any extra pressure. Things moved extremely fast once my water was broken, as they had with Claire. I had a feeling the baby’s head was making it’s way out so I buzzed the nurse and she confirmed it was time!
I remember looking at the on-call doctor I didn’t know very well as she was getting gloved up and into position. Every time she turned her head I had to hold back from asking if she was paying attention and ready to catch this baby. I didn’t want to insult her expertise but I just knew baby girl was on the way out with very little effort from me, eventhough I couldn’t really feel anything.
I ended up pushing twice, which beat my record of three pushes for Claire. I honestly didn’t put very much effort into the pushing because I knew the baby was practically out anyway and could see that on the doctor’s face. I almost felt like I was fake pushing for the show of having this baby. This ended up being to my great benefit because I didn’t have to have any stitches which made my recovery almost non-existent once the epidural wore off.
I will be honest and say that I didn’t even cry when she was born. Not because I wasn’t emotionally moved by the whole thing, but I think just because it all happened so fast and it was more surreal than anything to have been back there so unexpectedly.
Everything that happened after the delivery with Emma went so much more smoothly in the hospital than it did with Claire. I was much more comfortable with what to expect from the hospital staff and how to interact with them, as well as our new baby. We finally committed to her name the next morning. I couldn’t tell who she looked like at first and wanted to wait until it was daylight to make the final call.
So that’s our story and the start of Emma’s! Although I didn’t cry when she was born, this slideshow of her hospital photos got me and gets me every time!