I've been meaning to write out the story of Emmett's birth for a while now (like 3 months!), so I figured this would be a good place to do it. It's a bit of a long post, but it's more for myself (and for Emmett to read one day), so I don't mind if you skim through it. :)
On the morning of December 2nd, I had an doctor appointment - I was at 38 weeks. The doctor examined me and found that I was already 3 cm dilated, which wasn't a huge surprise to me. I had been having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, and a few other things that made me think that this baby was not going to wait until December 15th (my due date) to arrive. Or perhaps it was just really strong wishful thinking. Being due so close to Christmas, I desperately wanted to have the baby early (or at least on my due date), so that the kid wouldn't end up having to share his or her (we didn't know beforehand) birthday with all the Christmas celebrations. Anyways, back to the doctor's office. Since I was already starting to dilate, the doctor offered to strip the membranes, a procedure that can help get labour started. I said go for it - I was definitely ready to get this baby out. He told me it would be slightly uncomfortable, however, I found it to be quite painful (and I was quite vocal about it). I'm sure he was thinking "how's she going to handle labour?" With lots of drugs, that's how -- at least that was my plan.
After my doctor appointment, Carey went to work and I went back home. Annika was with Carey's mom for the morning, and I had originally planned on going for a pedicure after my appointment, but now I decided to just stay home until picking Annika up at lunch time. I had only a few mild, infrequent contractions, but I didn't want to be in a salon, by myself, if labour started to really get going. So I stayed home and packed my hospital bag, and Annika's overnight bag. By lunch time I went to go get Annika, still only have the occasional contraction. I don't remember much about what we did that afternoon, other than the fact that I cleaned our shower (not sure why that sticks in my mind). We had supper and I had planned to go to my book club meeting that evening, but I changed my mind and stayed home. We went for a drive, though, to the restaurant where the girls were meeting, so that I could at least return my book and pick up the next book (I wanted something to read if I was going to be spending hours in labour at the hospital). The contractions were starting to get a bit stronger and more frequent by this point, but still irregular and the pain was manageable. We drove home and put Annika to bed.
Around 8:00pm I started keeping track of when the contractions were happening. Between 8:30 and 9:00, the contractions were every 5 minutes. We had been watching tv (Human Target) and I had just finished a piece of apple pie and ice cream. I called the hospital at 9:00pm and they told us to come in. Even though the contractions were coming more regularly at this point, they still weren't overly painful. So, I called my mom to come and stay with Annika and got our stuff ready to go to the hospital. We got to the hospital at 9:45pm, and I waited in the lobby for Carey to go park the car. At this point the contractions were getting more painful. We went upstairs and were put into triage. There we waited and waited, but no one came to check on me. The contractions were really painful, so I finally sent Carey to go find a nurse, or someone, so we could get into a room. The nurse that checked me took my blood pressure twice, because the first reading was a bit high (I had a few issues with high blood pressure during my pregnancy, but nothing serious). The second time was lower, which was good, because then I could go to the "good" side, or low-risk, to have the baby. I had been in the high-risk side when I had Annika, so I was very glad that I wouldn't have to go back there. The rooms on the low-risk side were nicer, and they were all private - no roommate (or roommate's crying baby)! At 10:35pm I was dilated 7 cm, and we were taken to our room.
In the room, I begged the nurse to get me some drugs - as quickly as possible. She attempted to start an IV a few times, but I was in so much pain that I couldn't stay still for her to get the needle in my arm. She kept telling me that this baby was going to come before the epidural would start working anyways, but I was desperate. With Annika I had a shot of morphine and an epidural, and I was really scared of going through labour this time without any drugs. Labour had lasted for hours with Annika, and I didn't trust the nurse when she told me that this time would be a lot shorter. She offered me the gas, and I tried it, but it didn't really make any difference. Plus I felt a bit claustrophobic with the mask on my face, so I quickly abandoned that. I tried sitting on a birthing ball, and walking around. Carey massaged my lower back during contractions, which helped a little bit. I accepted the fact that I was going to have to do this without any drugs - just me. By 11:15pm I was fully dilated, and at 11:25pm my water broke. It happened when the nurse was examining me, and so she got a bit wet (oops). During both my labours, my water broke at the hospital, and I'm so glad that I've never had to clean up that mess in my own house!
I think I started pushing around 11:25pm. It was much more painful without any drugs. I had pushed for over 2 hours with Annika, and I prayed that it wouldn't take as long this time. The doctor and the nurse kept telling me that I wasn't pushing hard enough, and that really frustrated me, since I was doing the best I could. Finally I could feel that the head was almost out, and I just pushed with everything I had. Our baby was born at 11:45pm, and I was overcome with relief that it was all over (yes, that was my first thought). Then the doctor placed our wet, squirming baby on my chest, and I said "what is it?" No one had announced "it's a boy" or "it's a girl", and given my current position (still had my knees up around my ears), I couldn't really see what the baby was, or shift to take a look. Then someone said "it's a boy", and I was overcome with joy. I looked at Carey and could tell that he felt the same way too. I had been wishing and hoping and praying for a boy, and my prayers were answered. I always wanted to have 2 kids - a boy and a girl - and I couldn't believe that I actually got what I wanted. Of course, I would've loved another girl, if that's what we would've had, but I was just so happy to have a boy. Emmett Jacob weighed in at 7 lbs, and measured 19 3/4" long.