WARNING: This is long, and very detailed with probably a little tmi. Read at your own risk. :)
(I'm not sure what compelled me to write this out now after all this time. I think Emma turning 7 is a really big deal to me, and it's making me feel nostalgic. Plus the reality that I'm about to give birth for the last time has given me reason to reflect on all the kids' births and remember what I loved about them, and what I didn't love about them. Plus, Emma's birth being my first had a significant impact on all the others.)
Our oldest baby is turning 7 at 3:14am. I remember some details of her birth like it was yesterday, and there are other parts that are so foggy, but those parts were always foggy. When Emma was just a few weeks old, I watched what little bit of video was taken while I was in labor, and I did not remember much of it. All I remember was being in pain. Back labor sucks!
I was induced since I was two weeks past my due date, and had broken out in a horrible rash. The rash, of course, appeared over the weekend, and I did not sleep at all Sunday night. Monday morning I was to have an appointment, but I called my ob as soon as they opened and begged him to see me NOW to help me get some relief. He looked at me and said, "do you want to be induced today or tomorrow?" Of course I chose that day, and he said to meet him at the hospital at noon. Luckily my mom was already on her way down to the hospital since I was supposed to have an appointment later in the morning, so we met her and had lunch, and then finished packing my bag and went to the hospital. I don't think the reality that I was about to be in labor and give birth had really set it. I was just desperate for some relief from the itching.
We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and got things going with a cervadil. I received two doses of that four hours apart, and after the second dose I starting feeling contractions, but they weren't too painful yet. My sil and I went for a walk around the hospital, and I sat in the rocking chair and rocked for a while which actually helped some too. (side note: there were tons of people there while I was in labor. My mom and Sean were my biggest support people, but also in attendance, for at least part of the time, were my brother and sister in law, my cousin and her husband, my mom's boyfriend, and Sean's best friend and his wife) They brought me a dinner tray with some jello and other "liquid diet" stuff, but I didn't eat much.
This is where things start to get fuzzy. The contractions started getting more intense and more painful and I thought "ok I can handle this, this means I'll start making some progress." Then the back labor started, and OMG it felt like someone stabbing me in the back constantly. I wasn't getting any relief from the back pain in between contractions. The contractions were painful, but I felt like I could handle them. It was the unbearable back pain that was with me that was making me miserable. I couldn't take it anymore and begged for them to check me so I could get an epidural. The nurse checked me, and I was still at 2cm. I wanted to cry. That's what I was at the doctor's office before the induction started. 2 freaking cm's! She said I couldn't have my epi because of that, but I could get a stadol (this was after several times of me asking about the epi. In my head I think I thought a lot of time had passed, and it had only been like 10 minutes each time or something like that). Let me just tell you, Stadol sucks! Don't ever get it. It's not worth it. It made me loopy, but I still felt all the pain of each contraction. So I still wanted to cry. I remember thinking, "ok I changed my mind, let's stop this induction thing and I'll take a nap and we'll try again tomorrow." Totally unrealistic I know, but I was miserable and going on two days of no sleep, and they had started this labor insanity, surely they could stop it.
I labored for a long time like that, being out of it, snapping back to reality when I had a contraction, and then going back to being out of it after each contraction. That would be why I don't remember much. Finally the nurse checked me and I was at 4cm. Woohooo, that meant I could get my epidural. Unfortunately I was delivering in a very small hospital in a small town, which meant the anesthesiologist was not in the hospital. He was at home, in bed. So they called him, got him up there, and I finally got my epidural. The nurse wanted to check me again after all that, and wouldn't you know it, I was already at 8cm. Awesome! If I'd known that, I would have just toughed it out I think. But since I had an epidural, I took a nap. I don't think it was a long nap, but I needed it.
I'm not sure if I woke up on my own, or if they woke me up. Either way the doc came in and it was time to push. That really is the next thing I remember. I tried to push, but having just gotten my epidural I wasn't doing a very good job. My doctor decided to use forceps to help get the baby out, and I got an episiotomy. I also tore while the baby was coming out.
The baby arrived, and the doc announces it's a girl (which I knew in my heart for sure I was having), but my mom, ever convinced I was having a boy, said, "Are you sure?" lol! Too funny! Emma Wynn Robinson was born 2/25/2003 at 3:14am weighing 8 pounds 8 ounces, 20 1/2 inches long. She had pretty much no hair, and blue eyes, and was perfect and healthy. I remember having to sit there with my legs up for a long time to be stitched up. Sean carried Emma down to the nursery to get weighed and checked out after the initial in-room assessment. My mom who held one of my legs while I was pushing, and was still there by my side while I was getting stitched up, almost passed out. Not sure if it all hit her, she got overheated, or a combination of the two, but we were all really worried about her. She went and sat down, and recovered pretty quickly thankfully.
When I got up for the first time I realized how much I was bleeding. It was scary to be standing in a puddle of your own blood. The nurses reassured me it was ok and normal to bleed a lot, but I think I lost a lot more blood than your average person. They cleaned me up as best they could, brought Emma in to nurse, and then we finally went to sleep. I don't know what time, but it was before sunrise.
The anesthesiologist came in at around 7:30am, and woke me up by sitting me up and ripping the tape off my back to remove the epidural. That was really fun, NOT!
I felt week and exhausted the two days I was in the hospital, and the nurses had to help me shower because standing up long enough to shower made me feel like I was going to pass out. I was so sore from the episiotomy and tearing that sitting was painful. The positives were Emma was beautiful, healthy, and a great breast feeder, Sean was there with me supporting me even though our relationship kind of sucked then, and we had tons and tons of family members calling and visiting and showing us how much they loved us. My mom even cleaned my place, did all my laundry the day before we came home, and went grocery shopping for us and filled the fridge so we wouldn't have to worry about food. Oh yeah, and I had me some rock star nurses who did everything they could to help me recover well, and get breastfeeding off on the right foot.
The other things I remember are Sean and my mom drank like a gallon of coffee, and the smell of it on them made me really nauseous. I didn't have the heart to tell them that though since they were both going on no sleep trying to support me through the labor. After Emma was born the first person I told my mom to call was my best friend, because even though it was 3:30am, I knew I'd be in trouble if we didn't call her right away (love you Laura!). My night nurse while I was in labor was the only one who could find the right spot to put pressure on in my back to help relieve the back pain. Everyone else sucked. lol! I was amazed at the euphoria I felt the instant Emma arrived. The baby blues hit me hard in the hospital, and I remember crying my eyes out the night before I was to be discharged because I was convinced I could not do this mothering thing, and why on earth would they send us home with a newborn the next day. (I still cry like that after each baby, though it's not as much out of fear anymore).
I think my birth experience with Emma was rough, and really scared me into believing that I wasn't/am not strong enough to give birth without drugs. With Nathan I didn't even consider it. I got my epi with him as soon as they said I could, and I really wasn't in much pain yet. With Megan and Jackson I lasted longer, but still got one. I WANT to deliver drug free, but I'm terrified of a repeat of Emma's birth, especially the back labor. And while Sean is a great support to me while I'm in labor, he doesn't like seeing me in pain, so if I mention an epi, he says "whatever you want to do is fine with me." I know he's trying to be helpful, but I need him to tell me I can do it without the drugs. He's a great labor coach, but we both need to figure out a way to get past the epi talk when things get rough for me. I know it's ultimately my choice, but my decision is driven entirely by fear and there is no confidence in myself that I can do it drug free.