Thursday, January 30, 2014

Emmeline's Story: The Birth (Part 2)

And then I felt a sharp pang.

On the perfect night, on the perfect date, in the perfect place under the Christmas tree alongside your father, I felt a sharp pang.  I didn't want to get my hopes up that the time had come - it was too perfect. I kept wrapping presents, and holding my breath every time I felt one of those sharp pains.  As James Stewart proceeded to learn of his wonderful life, I proceeded to feel sharper and sharper pains.  I didn't say anything, but soon your dad noticed that I was consistently doubling over.  He downloaded a contraction counting app to his phone to keep track of how long each sharp pain would last, and the time in between.  His rosy cheeks got rosier - he was excited.

But I was dubious.  It wasn't time just yet!!! I wasn't done wrapping my presents!  I hadn't done the dishes!  And I had been reading that some people could have contractions for weeks - I didn't want to get too excited before it was time.  So I kept denying it, saying "surely, no.  Surely its just the papusas."  I thought the sketch El Salvadorian restaurant from just a few hours earlier disagreed with me.  Every time I started feeling a sharp pain, I ran to the bathroom.  Taylor dismissed my protests, saying digestion pains don't come four minutes apart!

Taylor was ready to go to the hospital, but I got stubborn.  It turns out that when you have a come home with a baby.  All of a sudden all the romance became VERY scary.  I refused to have a baby that night, until everything was ready.  So I cowered on the couch, doubling over every couple minutes, while Taylor cleaned up the gift wrapping stuff, made me a grilled cheese sandwhich, and got dressed.  He came out in jeans and a t-shirt, but I shouted at him to change.  If the baby was coming, I wanted him to be photographed in something cuter than a t-shirt.  It was a weird feeling, though, because for a few moments I would feel like a bomb was going off in my insides, and then for the next 4 minutes I felt perfectly normal.  It was an interesting sensation.

The snow that had been so beautiful earlier was still poring down, and your dad met my stubborness with firmness.  He said he didn't want to deliver the baby in the car as we were stuck in the snow (though he still grabbed towels and water to throw in the trunk, just in case) and then called my sister for affirmation.  Morgan answered the phone at 1 in the morning (bless her heart) and said, yeah - you should probably go to the hospital.  So I put on my boots and we went out into the snow, doubling over every 2-3 minutes.

We arrived to the hospital, and I was surprised at just how calm every one was.  I was NOT feeling calm.  We went in, got undressed, and I got a cervical check (my favorite).  I was dilated to a 4 and the contractions continued, pretty painful.  My water wouldn't break, however, and after two hours I wasn't dilated any more.  Finally, at 4:30, they sent me home with a shot of morphine.  I was embarrassed - this was my third false alarm! I determined I would have the baby at home.  We got back in the car - my morphine kicked in, and I fell asleep wondering if I had to go to 9 am church.

At 8 the next morning, however, I awoke to a new kind of pain.  HOLY CRAP IT HURT!  For about an hour I had contractions 5 minutes apart, then 4, then 3, then 2.  I was crawling around on the floor, trying to find a position to lessen the pain.  We got back in the car to go to the hospital - and this time I was determined to not leave.

We arrived again, and this time I was dilated to a 5.  5 means its baby time.  I watched your contractions on the monitor. I feared every time the little peaks got higher, and I knew the pain that was coming. Soon, however, I was given an epidural.  And then....things got very relaxed.  I watched the contractions on the monitor, feeling no pain.  I definitely disliked the catheter, and I got pretty thirsty, but other than that I was very comfortable.  I was able to sleep all day, while your dad had to slump in a  chair by the bed.  I admired my newly manicured hands, chatted, and slept. Every time I felt a pain, I upped the epidural juice.  Not a bad Sunday.
Sleeping during labor.  Taylor wasn't so lucky.
But then, about 4:00, things got real.  The nurse came over and said that my water still hadn't broken, but I was nearly dilated fully, and it was time to start pushing.  WHAT?  Hanging out in a hospital bed eating flavored ice all day wasn't bad, but pushing meant that a baby was coming! I kind of wanted to back out, but I had reached the point of no return.  The nurse and Taylor helped me start pushing.  I was grateful that they were so supportive - there is nothing lovely about what I was doing - but they were very encouraging.  They placed a mirror so I could see my progress.  (Obviously a gross sight, but beautiful in its way).  As soon as I saw the top of your dark head I fell in love.  The nurse told me that some new mothers have to push for a couple hours, and after a couple minutes I was pretty tired - I don't know how those women do it!  The doctor came, I had two rather effortless pushes, and then a tiny, perfect, bright-eyed baby was placed on my chest.  In one instant everything changed.

And that was that, the easiest labor and delivery in the world.  We were blessed with no complications and good health.  Our little Emmeline Hardy Orton was born at 5:45 pm on Sunday evening (just as her grandpa had requested), a petite 5"13 and 19 in wide.  YOU WERE PERFECT!  I was surprised by how fully formed you were - just tiny little fingers and eyebrows and ears.  At first you looked exactly like your Uncle Bryce, but as you pinked up I thought you looked like me.  Every 5 minutes I felt like you looked a little different, but your beautiful steely eyes stayed the same.  You have my eye shape, and your dad's nose. You had a dark complexion and dark hair, long fingernails, and extra long eyelashes.  I felt you had an old soul - your eyes exuded wisdom. I felt that you had bravely chosen to come.

Our very first family photo.

Thank you for joining us, little one.  From the second you were placed on my chest my life changed.  I didn't feel any more prepared to be a mother, but I felt all the more grateful that God had given me a chance. Your dad was smitten.  You were perfect.


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