Pictures of the birth and Lily first days in the hospital are here.
Since Lily was 41 weeks the midwives had us get sonograms and fetal monitoring every 3 days. Which was fine. Just inconvenient as the birthing center is 45 minutes away. The last sonogram of Lily was taken Monday afternoon. It was perfect. And in 4D this time. She was happy and healthy and all her fluids were where they were supposed to be. After the sonogram we headed to the birthing center for 30 minutes of fetal monitoring. Everything was normal. For a while. Then her heart rate dropped a bit. It was an anomaly. But it was worrying the midwives as she was already 2 weeks and 2 days past her due date. We later found out that it could have been from Emily’s dehydration. Regardless it was time for this baby to come out. We didn’t want to get to 43 weeks as then the baby would no longer be in the hands of our midwives, but in the hands of an Ob-Gyn. And we were trying to avoid that and the risks associated with that standard of care.
So the midwives told us to have a relaxing dinner and head to the hospital afterwards. They said we were having this baby the following morning. No doubt. But there was no rush. No emergency. If there was an emergency we’d be on an ambulance in a snap. We knew that after 42 weeks we could no longer birth at the birthing center and it would have to be at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Not because she was high-risk then, but because it was the policy of the birthing center. That was fine. But we just hadn’t ever planned for it. At first we were a little sad, but we quickly got over it. We were both looking forward to a bathtub birth.
We then got ourselves together and headed for Annapolis to find some food. We decided to head to a shopping center just a 1/4 mile from the hospital. We settled with Macaroni Grill. As Tolya, partially kidding (we think), suggested eating a large plate of pasta for the long journey ahead. Little did she know that that meal made the day for Emily’s marathon.
We got to the hospital and checked in. They were expecting us. We finally got to check in to our room 30 minutes later. It had vaulted ceilings. Huge windows that faced west. Hardwood flooring. The works. Oh and Cable TV! This was a place to give birth. Just no tub.
After a bit, the nurse and David, our midwife, came in to read over our birth plan and made a copy for our chart. Yeah, the hospital took it very seriously and told us they’d do everything humanly possible to stay on path with how we wanted to bring Lily in to this world. They started the pitocin drip to get her labor started. She had the lowest amount possible. I think 2 parts per million. I can’t remember that detail. She also had an IV which was hospital policy. That was fine. It didn’t allow for great mobility but it was something we could work around. Same for the continuous fetal monitoring. But we worked around it. Around an hour or so after the pitocin drip the baby’s heart rate dropped from the intensifying contractions that were compressing her little body. If baby couldn’t handle the even larger contractions to come, the midwives would have to find another way to get baby out. This would have been a C-Section. This was not an option at the time for us. Unlike GBMC (Greater Baltimore Medical Center) our motto is not, “When In Doubt Cut It Out” – Seriously. They have those signs posted in their hospital. And it’s not to say there isn’t a time and place for a C-Section. I just couldn’t believe this. And in a hospital. Horrible. But we had to make it through this and ideally with out a C-Section. And after an hour or so break, the pitosin started working again and the contractions were getting stronger. This time, amazingly, baby took to them wonderfully. Chomping along at 130-160 bpm. She was a trooper and wanted to come out vaginally and naturally (a la no epidural, narcotics or pain medications – we both wanted a lucid and coherent baby when she came out.) It was all Lily and Emily’s will. And no one could mess with that.
At 12.30am (Tuesday, early morning) Emily’s water broke. “Something is bubbling down there.” It sure was. This was good. This meant she was progressing! And the contractions were getting larger and larger and more and more intense. But we were still just chatting and Emily was still here with us. Annette was here from NYC to assist with the birth. She was our mock-Doula. One of the nurses asked if she was a Doula. That question made Annette mad proud. I’d be. So Annette was getting Emily in a pleasant place to start the labor. We were talking about when we all met. How we met our significant others. Whatever Annette was doing worked like a charm! And it was nice to reminisce about all that good stuff. Thanks for waiting 10 days for this baby to pop. And Billy, thanks for being patient. 😉
Emily was humming/moaning to guide her through the more and more intense contractions. But she was on the train to child birth. There was no stopping her. I was behind her. She was pretty much in my lap so I could work on her back for the contractions with counter pressure to relieve the intense pain. But that didn’t last long. She tried other positions with me behind her assisting in the pain management. But when Emily finally felt comfortable with the birthing ball everything really started to flow. She was dilating. And fast. The midwife would come in from time to time to make sure Emily was moving forward. It was nice the midwife and the nurses had the confidence in what Annette and I were doing to assist Emily. But the nurse had excellent suggestions and was no-bullshit and explained everything she was doing PRIOR to doing it. Imagine that! She rocked. They all rocked. The nurses were incredible. We can’t recommend this hospital enough, to give birth. Seriously. They take natural childbirth very seriously.
Around 6.30 or 7.30am Emily started pushing just as the sun was totally out. The baby was coming. There was no doubt. She even crowned and Emily felt it. Well I guess then she was gender neutral then as we didn’t know the gender. When her cervix was 9-10 cm dilated, I started puking. Dry heaving. It was a lot of work for us all. And I was running on empty. And emotions were running through the roof. Annette would hand me vitamin water or whatever she had so the numbness and shaking would be alleviated in my body. And this was me! Not Emily. She still had to deliver this baby. But I couldn’t pass out. That was not an option. And I quickly got a 2nd wind. Thanks Annette for getting me through that. And then Emily couldn’t have pushed more than 12 times before the baby popped out.
The cord was wrapped once loosely around her neck. After moving the cord, David held her up to us so we could see the gender first. “It’s a girl! LILY!” She was blue and getting ready to breathe her first breath of air. Those few seconds where we were waiting for her first breath and scream were terrifying. I think my heart skipped a beat. But her ducks were in a row! And she was quickly screaming and yelling and waiting to get warm and near Emily’s chest. Phew. And that purple head quickly turned pink. And there she went on Emily’s chest. Seconds after she started crying she was on Emily chest looking for her boob. She was not the only one crying. I was totally in tears. In fact a lot of the night I was in tears from the sheer emotion and intensity of the moment. It only took her 30 minutes and she was latching and breast feeding. It was breathtaking. I think shortly before that I cut the cord. That was a weird feeling. But it was something I really wanted to do.
Then they weighed her and measured her. It was over. But really, it’s just the beginning.
I can’t believe it’s over. It was worth the wait. Well worth it. I am so happy Emily was able to birth on her terms the way we, but more so how she, wanted to birth. 8 hours of serious labor and we had a baby. Not too bad. Emily was a trooper and managed the pain like no other. She had one intense labor. She worked harder than I had ever seen her work. It was wonderful. And I was so luckily I could help her get there.
It’s a little hard to take everything in right now. There is just too much going on and Lily is changing by the minute and I want to try and keep up with everything.
We are so happy to have Lily in this world. And hot damn, I am one proud Father.
Pictures of the birth and Lily first days in the hospital are here.